At the beginning, there were TV commercials, interrupting our favorite shows for 30 seconds – the most intrusive forms of marketing imaginable.

Later, there were banners, the less intrusive form of marketing, because at least readers could disregard the screaming piece of graphic and try to focus on the content they wanted to consume. Of course, there are still cool commercials out there, the best of them are celebrated at the annual Superbowl, but let’s admit – most of them are just desperate screams for customers’ attention.

Then the whole “Social Media” phenomenon was created. Agencies told brands they could possibly stop screaming and interrupting their customers and instead, interact and engage. “But how can we measure this?”– Brands asked their agencies, and the agencies replied: “How can you measure LOVE?”

Oh, the sweet promise to be LOVEd. Isn’t it all everyone wants, while socializing online? (Note – some want FAME and MONEY, but this often comes from even larger deficit of LOVE).

On Twitter LOVE is measured by  the number of followers and Re-tweets, on Facebook – by the number of page fans, on Google by the number of incoming links generated, on Alexa – by the ranking number, and so on. No one has yet combined these metrics and came up with the formula to measure LOVE, which seems to be the hottest commodity on today’s market.

Of course, some brands get the LOVE naturally, because they create something people already LOVE: take Hermes $7,000 Birkin handbags, which sales don’t slow down even during recession times. Or Marc Jacobs, who is LOVEd so much, that he manages to sell necklaces with his own name. It’s easy to LOVE Marc, who creates amazing clothes, or brands like Avelle, who give a chance to rent luxury items to consumers who can’t afford it. The word LOVE was used 16(!) times in 33 comments on this giveaway we hosted for Avelle on MyItThings, as part of Style Coalition campaign. Although the word LOVE referred mostly to the bags that fashionistas were craving, Avelle could satisfy those cravings, therefore be LOVEd as well…

No expensive TV commercial or fancy banner ad could give a chance to consumers for expressing their LOVE for brands and products, the only way to get some LOVE is to give it to consumers and allow them to respond back. Social conversations are a two-way street, which could potentially become mutual LOVE exchange channel.

Do you LOVE your customers? What do you do to express your LOVE? And most importantly – do you give them a chance to express their LOVE to you?