An emotional connection with a brand can be a powerful motivator. In fact, brands considered to be the “most intimate” in the US outperform other companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 lists in terms of revenue and profit, according to research from agency MBLM.
Who are those most intimate brands? This year Disney leads the list of companies with the strongest emotional connections to their customers in the US, as ranked in MBLM’s 'Brand Intimacy 2019 Study.' Edged out of the lead slot for the first time was Apple, which ranks second. Amazon rounds out the top three most intimate brands.
Media and entertainment brands garnered more of the top slots than in previous years, but a few brands known for their fiercely loyal customers held steady. In rank order, the other brands in the top 10 this year are Chevrolet, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, PlayStation, YouTube, Ford, and Chick-fil-A.
“Our demand for escapism and our collective need for a distraction from reality is factoring heavily in the brands that rose in 2019,” MBLM managing partner Mario Natarelli said in a statement.
MBLM’s research finds that consumers’ emotional connections with brands lead to loyalty, a greater willingness to purchase, and price resilience. The top 10 most intimate brands saw average revenue growth from 2008–2017 of 8.68% and profit growth of 44.98%, compared to 3.66% and 20.45% for Fortune 500 top brands, and 4.75% and 6.37% for top S&P companies, respectively.
“We know that customers who form strong emotional bonds with brands are willing to pay more and are less willing to live without them,” Natarelli said.
The Brand Intimacy 2019 Study ranks brands based on analyzing the responses of 6,200 consumers and 56,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the US, Mexico and UAE. This year the top intimate brands saw double the number of consumers who are willing to pay a premium of 20% more for them compared to lower-ranked intimate brands.
Consumers polled for the research were asked to say whether they can live without a brand. Their answers present another perspective on the top 10 most intimate brands: