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Searching for Customer Intimacy

The New Marketing Reality

by Mario Natarelli

We hear from our clients and see that marketing is becoming more complicated than ever before. Big data is overwhelming. Digital integration is complex. Social media is taxing. Strategy is being measured in months versus years as the pressure grows to demonstrate immediate, tangible returns. Traditional domains of technology, content, sales, and customer service are now blurring departments, responsibilities, and budgets. Marketing resources are shrinking, and expectations are rising.

But there is good news. We’ve uncovered a winning formula that presents an enormous opportunity for brands and those who market them. It all begins with Brand Intimacy — a new paradigm that builds, sustains and measures ultimate brand relationships. And why does this matter you ask?

Gallup research has found that customers who are fully engaged represent an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer.

The same study showed that companies that engage both their employees and their customers gain a 240 percent boost in performance-related business outcomes. These impressive figures below echo our results that show top-ranked intimate brands outperform major financial indices revenue and profit over the long term.

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Focusing more on immediate benefits, intimate brands deliver greater price resilience with consumers.

On average, more than a third of those most intimate with a brand are willing to pay a 20 percent premium.

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At its core, Brand Intimacy is proving to be more than just good business, it’s about building strong bonds. It factors in reciprocity and emotion as key drivers in decision making and behavior. This new paradigm better reflects how we access, learn about, choose, buy, share, and advocate for brands. The upside potential for intimate (or engaged) brands is immense, and this year’s findings demonstrates only a fraction of that upside.

This video describes at a very high level how we measure Brand Intimacy in this year’s study of 6000 consumers in 3 countries across 9 different industries. We look forward to sharing more aspects of research in the coming months. In the meantime, check out our Brand Intimacy Ranking Tool, built from 52,000 brand assessments.

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We hope you enjoy this report and the range of related materials on Brand Intimacy as a way to rethink your marketing efforts and better leverage the emotional currency of your brand.


To download the full Brand Intimacy 2015 Report or explore the Ranking Tool, please visit: mblm.com/brandintimacy/.

Read our detailed methodology here. 

To learn more about MBLM, click here.

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