Brand Intimacy Is Key As COVID-19 Impacts Media And Entertainment

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased our need for escapism.

As people isolate and stay at home during these unprecedented times, they are looking for new sources of distraction and comfort.

This has a direct impact on the media & entertainment industry, and specifically on streaming services. These services are becoming increasingly important and relevant in today's climate.

The media & entertainment industry already ranked first for the third year in a row our Brand Intimacy 2020 Study, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. The study, now in its 10th year, reveals that streaming platforms dominated the industry, with Amazon Prime topping the industry followed by Disney and Netflix.

Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love. This new paradigm is even more important today as brands must adjust their roles and applicability during these challenging times.



In addition, according to the study, the top intimate brands in the U.S. continued to significantly outperform the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years.

While (or because) movie theaters are closed, concerts put on hold, sports games are paused and the production of movies and TV shows is suspended for the time being, our reliance on other parts of the industry such as streaming services continues to increase.

According to a survey of 2,000 Americans done by OnePoll for streaming service Tubi, Americans are spending eight hours streaming content daily, and the average survey respondent has four services, while 38% have five or more.

Brands that are part of this ecosystem are seeing positive benefits from this increased demand. Walt Disney has added 50 million subscribers to Disney+, which only launched in November 2019. Netflix has seen its stocks rise to a new record on April 15th.

Amazon is bolstering its streaming content and has added child and family-friendly content for free, with some HBO shows and Warner Bros. movies, as well as CBSN, a digital news channel.

While content, gaming and streaming brands are generally booming, ESPN and other sports brands and apps have experienced a 40% decline in use.

The demand presents a unique opportunity for brands in this landscape to stream content that can create strong bonds with consumers, which can continue once the pandemic eases.

We believe this new, diverse content will help distinguish brands in this space. Netflix is doing interesting things to build social bonds with Netflix Party, and AT&T has added Epix, Starz, Cinemax and HBO for free for their users.

In our study, one core element of Brand Intimacy is archetypes, with six key archetypes, patterns or markers consistently present among intimate brands. They are: fulfillment, identity, enhancement, ritual, nostalgia and nostalgia -- and each brand has its own DNA code of what makes them connect with users.

Ritual, which relates to a brand being ingrained into daily actions, was the top archetype for the media & entertainment brands in our study. We expect this to remain key. However, we anticipate that brands that are altering their offerings may alter their Brand Intimacy profile as well.

As our stay-at-home orders continue and our behaviors are changing, we believe that three archetypes may become more significant: indulgence -- which relates to creating a close relationship centered around moments of pampering and gratification -- identity -- which reflects shared values or brands that have an aspirational quality -- and nostalgia, hearkening to warm memories, may all become more important.

The media & entertainment industry is already a Brand Intimacy powerhouse, and we expect many brands to evolve and advance their offerings and to be among those that succeed in our post-pandemic world.

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