While it would be nice if marketing and customer behavior were predictable to mathematical models, it’s simply not the case. (Or…not to any models we have today.) Customers spend a lot of money in accordance with how products and services make them feel. It’s called “emotional buying” and understanding it is critical to success. From a company’s viewpoint, it relates to “brand intimacy” or how products and services make them feel (for example, boost their confidence, bring on warm memories, make them feel elegant).
Earlier this year, MBLM’s 2017 Brand Intimacy Report ranked the brands that induce the most brand intimacy for customers, this time paying attention to younger consumers who fall into the so-called “Millennial generation.” The study is compiled by analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 branding evaluations in the U.S., Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. Unsurprisingly, Disney topped the list.
“Disney resonates with this age group because they grew up with the brand. It has kept up with their changing interests and now includes popular franchises like Star Wars and Marvel. Disney is also a mainstay for young families,” said Mario Natarelli, MBLM's managing partner, in a statement. “Interestingly, five out of the top 10 brands for millennials are in the media and entertainment industry, which we believe reflects the prevailing mood of escapism and the need for respite.”
After Disney in the No. 1 spot, the nine leaders for brand intimacy were Amazon, Netflix, Apple, PlayStation, Target, Chevrolet, Xbox, Google
and YouTube. While the choice of companies varied a little when stratified by age, income and gender, the MLBM report’s authors noted that consumers seem to connect most strongly with brands that let them entertain themselves on demand.
“The ability to disconnect and retreat seems to be growing more popular in the U.S.,” they wrote. “Binge watching favorite programs or gaming are dominant (and relatively inexpensive) ways to bring calm and joy into our lives. We can control them and adjust programming and frequency to our preferences. This is particularly true for millennials, for whom five of the 10 top brands are in the media and entertainment category.”
There is evidence that in a sluggish economic climate, brand intimacy is on the retreat. Customers are not as willing to pay 20 percent more for a brand that “feels right” to them. That said, for the companies that can foster the most brand intimacy, there are ample rewards, according to the MLBM report.
“Intimate brands make strong business sense,” wrote the report’s authors. “The Top 10 Most Intimate Brands continue to outperform established financial indices for both revenue and profit growth over the last 10 years. In addition, these brands command a price premium, enjoying more financial resilience than brands in the same industries that are not intimate.”
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