Brand Love: How Firms Measure Relationships With The Customer

Trapped in their silos, email teams must wonder whether their larger brands are really achieving an intimate relationship with the customer. 

Many are, judging by Brand Intimacy, a study by MBLM, a brand relationship agency.  

Brand performance has ticked up by 19% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, there has been a 9% hike in the number of consumers who have established some sort of intimate relationship with a brand.  

And, the indulgence archetype — a metric based on moments of gratification and pampering — has risen by 12% since the firm’s 2021 study.  

But let’s cut the suspense: Here are the top ten brands and their scores:

  1. Disney — 68.1
  2. Tesla — 67.4
  3. Apple — 65.3 
  4. Sony — 65
  5. YouTube — 64.3
  6. Mercedes-Benz — 63.9 
  7. Trader Joe’s — 59.8
  8. Netflix — 59.6 
  9. Android — 59.1 
  10. Sega — 59.1



In general, the leading industries are as follows:

  1. Media & Entertainment — 51.6 
  2. Tech & Telecom — 49.2 
  3. Retail — 47.5 
  4. Automotive — 46
  5. Gaming — 44.6
  6. Consumer Goods — 41.7
  7. Apparel — 38.3 
  8. Crypto — 387.7
  9. Health & Hygiene — 36.7
  10. Sports Leagues — 36.1 

All well and good. But the old-time direct marketer in us wonders how brand intimacy is really determined. 

Some of the above brands create intimacy with their email. They offer discounts and specials and provide specialized content. It’s like hearing from a trusted friend. 

But this impact is rarely measured — email metrics are based on clicks and conversions, not on brand love. 

For what it’s worth, the study identifies three stages of brand intimacy:

Sharing — "When a person and a brand engage and interact. There is knowledge being shared, and the person is informed about what the brand is all about and vice versa. At this stage, attraction occurs through reciprocity and assurance.”

Bonding — “When an attachment is created and the relationship between a person and a brand becomes more significant and committed. This is a stage of acceptance and the establishment of trust.” 

Fusing — “When a person and a brand are inexorably linked and co-identified. In this stage, the identities of the person and the brand begin to merge and become a form of mutual realization and expression.“

Who’s best? Apple leads in sharing and bonding, and Korean Air in fusing.   

The study says that intimate brands deliver superior results across profit growth and stock performance.  

MBLM compared over 600 brands across 19 industries, analyzing 1.4 billion words, applying keywords and social media mentions to each brand. 




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