A new paradigm shift in marketing – brand intimacy reveals how emotions drive success for brands. Recently, top brands in the world have been indulging in leveraging emotional bonds customers have with them. Industry leaders are formulating strategies to strengthen their brand image by embracing brand intimacy. A recent survey by MBLM – Brand intimacy 2020 study – conducted before the pandemic, revealed the names of top brands that customers feel most attached to. With Amazon Prime bagging the first place in top media & entertainment brands category followed by Disney, Netflix and PlayStation, marketers are now interested, more than ever, to understand customer-brand relationship and explore new opportunities. Many are revamping their old strategies. Some of the other brands in the category that customers are most connected to are Xbox, Youtube, Nintendo, Hulu, HBO and WWE.
Customers most relate to Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft in the telecommunications and technology category. Some of the world’s best brands such as Verizon, AT&T, Dell, LG, HP and Intel are also amongst the top 10 brands that customers are most attached to. One of the top technology companies in the world – Apple leads in multiple age groups – both millennials and customers above 35 years of age, giving it the highest brand intimacy quotient amongst technology brands.
Why is brand intimacy important?
Every brand has its own personality. The science of the bond between customer and brands that are an integral part of our lives is known as brand intimacy. Emotions fuel brand intimacy. One of the major contributors to brand longevity is – a strong customer bond. The stronger the bond, the higher the brand loyalty will be and vice versa. The study by MBLM states that consumers have different perceptions about various companies, brands and industries according to emotions. The brands that are highly integrated with our lives have a stronger brand-customer bond.
The research also states that in the Unites States, the last decade has witnessed top intimate brands to continually outrank the top-ranking brands of the Fortune 500 and S&P indices, both in revenue and profit.
Media & Entertainment industry – A leader in brand intimacy
MBLM, a brand intimacy agency, reports Media and Entertainment industry to have bagged the 1st place out of 15 industries third year in a row. With Amazon Prime emerging as a leader in brand intimacy, followed by Disney and Netflix, according to managing partner of MBLM – Mario Natarelli, the proliferation of use of smartphones and peoples’ polarized opinions have fuelled the growth of media & entertainment brands. The brand intimacy quotient of the media & entertainment industry is the highest at 46.7 (31 being the industry average).
The flexibility and convenience offered by the VODs and OTT platforms have resulted in a significant increase in their usage and popularity. Consumers are increasingly becoming attached to on-demand video services. Now, consumers prefer to indulge in entertainment on their own terms. Digital content and online gaming have seen an exponential rise as “binge watching” has become a norm.
The MBLM study also revealed that millennials ranked PlayStation as their most preferred brand while Gen Z chose Xbox as their top brand. Consumers in the age group of 35-54 were more intimate with the M&E brands, while customers between the age group of 54-64 years didn’t have any M&E brand in their top 5. Millennials chose YouTube as their top media & entertainment brand. The brands which operate in the smartphone ecosystem outperformed the brands who don’t.
Customers connect the most with Amazon Prime
Customer feel “fulfilled” when they order from Amazon and utilize their prime services – which is quite synonymous with “fulfillment” – a brand intimacy archetype. Amazon has a strong connection with its customers as they adore Amazon Prime to its core. The brand was able to achieve such a high degree of connection with its customers through value delivery, personalization and efficiency. It’s indeed a brand that people can’t think of living without. The level of embedment the company has achieved in people’s everyday lives is astonishing.
The study by MBLM reveals that men over the age of 35 years are the most active customers on Amazon Prime, while Disney has women as the most active. It was also observed that consumers with income less than $100,000 preferred Disney, while Amazon Prime was a top brand amongst customers with income more than $100,000.
Netflix is a top brand for “Ritual”
A beneficiary of the binge-watching trends – Netflix is ranked as a top brand for ‘Ritual’ – a brand intimacy archetype, which provides the level of a brand being ingrained into daily actions. The brand essentially becomes a part of a person’s daily existence. Half of the brands in the top 10 intimate brands list in the M&E industry have video streaming as their primary and secondary focus.
High brand intimacy increases revenue
MBLM’s study proves the finding that organizations who succeed in creating strong bonds with their customers have higher revenues. The higher the degree of brand intimacy, the larger the audiences’ willingness to pay. Decision makers and marketers are paying special attention to brand intimacy as it is driving purchase decisions and promoting the creation of long-term bonds. It was observed that the number of customers who were willing to pay more than 20% doubled for the top intimate brands, as compared to the lower-ranking intimate brands.
Brand intimacy is applicable to companies of all sizes
Regardless of the size of the company, creating a strong connection with your customers requires a fundamental shift in the focus and reorientation of strategies with the stakeholders to find ways of nurturing and managing the emotional customer bonds. Brand intimacy frameworks provide a holistic pathway to establish real emotional connection whether a company is a start-up or an established brand.
What will happen in a post COVID world?
Brand intimacy is already flourishing in the media and entertainment industry but, as people continue to remain socially distant from the world, three archetypes are expected to have more significance – indulgence, identity and nostalgia. However, ritual will maintain its top position in the M&E sector. The post-pandemic world will witness brands evolving and advancing their offerings in order to adjust to the new normal.
According to a survey done for Tubi, conducted by OnePoll, individuals in the United States are spending 8 hours streaming digital content on a daily basis. The upsurge in the demand has increasingly benefitted brands in the media & entertainment industry. Amazon Prime is offering its newly added family & child friendly content for free while, Netflix is strengthening its social bonds through ‘Netflix Party’.
SGA Digital Marketing Team