Affection Favors Southwest, Google, Dove

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In the ephemeral world of brand affection, which isn’t necessarily reflected in sales volume, Southwest Airlines, Google and Dove are big winners. But there are differences when it comes to gender. Women, it seems, favor Hallmark, Kohl's, Lexus, Target, Neutrogena, and Crest. Gentlemen prefer not blondes, but Cadillac, BMW, Apple, Sharp, and GE.

These are the results from neuro-research firm Buyology and uSamp's second annual study on affection, "Most Desired Brands in the U.S." The study purports to quantitatively type and measure consumer relationships with brands based on non-conscious connections.

The report tested some 220 brands across 10 industries, among a sample of 4,000 people who were representative of the U.S. population. The test was conducted immediately following the Super Bowl, Feb. 6-10.

Gary Singer, founding partner and CEO of Buyology Inc., said brands should invest in whatever it takes to make a deeper relationship with their target consumer. "These relationships provide the context that either amplifies or diminishes everything the brand does to connect with its customers," he said in a statement.

For men, the top brands were: Southwest; Cadillac; BMW; Dove; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Apple; Google; Sharp; GE, and Macy's. For women, the top brands were Southwest, Google, Hallmark, Dove, JetBlue, Kohl's, Lexus, Target, Neutrogena, and Crest. 

When parsed by industry, American Airlines and United followed Southwest when men were asked about air carriers, while women put British Airways in third place after Southwest and JetBlue.

In the automotive category, BMW and Porsche were second and third after Cadillac, while for women Mercedes-Benz and BMW followed Lexus.

There were also big differences in telecom and tech categories with men favoring Apple, Microsoft and IBM and women Nokia, Apple and HP. In QSR restaurants, men liked McDonald's best, followed by Wendy’s and BK -- while women favored Wendy's, Subway and McD's.

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