Knowing consumers is one thing, but being truly intimate with them is the way to success.
In its latest Brand Intimacy Report, brand agency MBLM finds that the brands people feel most connected to are not only some of the most respected and well-known companies, but also strong economic performers.
According to the research, if the top S&P and Fortune brands performed at the same growth rate as the top intimate brands, the average company would have earned $7.7 billion in revenue and $5.3 billion in profit (S&P) and $20.3 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in profit (Fortune 500).
“If you build strong bonds you’re going to be successful,” Mario Natarelli, MLBM’s managing partner, tells Marketing Daily. “Brand growth starts and ends with emotion and the quantity, quality and character of the bonds formed with customers.”
The study, which measures the strength of a person’s emotional bond with a brand, put Apple at the top, followed by Disney and Amazon. Others on the Top 10 list included Harley-Davidson, Netflix, Nintendo, Samsung, Whole Foods, BMW and Toyota.
It’s notable that this year’s list is dominated by electronics and entertainment companies, Natarelli says. He attributes that to consumers looking for an escape from the political discord and mood with distraction, and a desire for more control over their lives.
“Electronics are the things that surround you and involve you with the world,” Natarelli says. “Folks were looking for outlets and media brands were selling a means of escape.”
Yet brands don’t have to have an inherent “escape” pitch to connect with consumers, Natarelli says. They just need to work at building the bonds.
“The underpinning of intimacy is the closer you get to your customer, the better. That’s not a new idea,” he says. “Take advantage of the archetypes of building bonds and enhance those strategies. How do you measure, build and manage bonds?”