Amazon Wins the Battle for Customer Intimacy
Decoding Its Winning Brand Formula
by Mario Natarelli and Rina Plapler
The Amazon brand has not only built a unique business proposition (retail, cloud services, entertainment, technology), but it also dominates part of our Brand Intimacy Report and Rankings. If we asked you to think about the warm and fuzzy attributes the Amazon brand connotes, could you name any? Probably not. So how does it perform so well in driving what ultimately matters most—how consumers feel about the brand?
Moreover, how does Amazon lead our retail category in the annual Brand Intimacy study, which ranks brands driven by their emotional connection? Is it performing some brand ‘mind tricks’ that have been concocted in its labs along with drone delivery squadrons? Can any retail brand, online or otherwise, catch Amazon? What drives its unique blend of brand performance?
To answer those questions, we dug a little deeper into our research findings seeking clues and a hypothesis.
First, a little background on what we mean by Brand Intimacy. Through recent advances in neuroscience and psychology, we have a better understanding of the decision-making process. We now know emotion is the driver of decisions, and our rational minds retrofit our selections after the fact. Furthermore, behavioral science suggests how we feel about a brand is the best predictor of behavior.
Brand Intimacy is at the heart of this new thinking. We have been studying it for several years, initially by understanding shifts and updates in the worlds of technology, marketing, and science, and then by undertaking in-depth, qualitative, online communities research to better explore and understand the very idea of Brand Intimacy. This resulted in over 20,000 brand stories across the United States, Germany, and Japan. Finally, we have completed quantitative research with 6,000 consumers, encompassing 52,000 brand evaluations in the United States, Mexico, and the UAE to validate and better understand the implications and performance of intimate brands.
The core of measuring Brand Intimacy is our Quotient model, comprised of four stages that result in a Brand Intimacy Quotient Score (a score from 0-100; higher is better). You can review a detailed description of the model and how it works here. The video below also provides a brief overview of the process.