Model & Methodology

Strong emotional connection
Brand Intimacy Quotient

A New Paradigm

A comprehensive model to create, sustain and measure ultimate brand relationships

Brand Intimacy Model

Quantitative research has helped determine our Brand Intimacy Model, which comprises five key components that contribute toward building intimate brand relationships. The model culminates in a Brand Intimacy quotient, a score each brand receives indicating its performance.

I. User

We define the user of our quantitative studies as someone intimate with the brand who has engaged with or repeatedly tried it. Users in our big data studies are those who describe their experiences and relationship with the brand in emotional terms.

II. Strong Emotional Connection

A strong emotional connection is a key requirement and the foundation of intimacy. We believe the greater the emotional connection between a brand and consumer, the more powerful the relationship. A strong emotional connection is determined by a series of attributes and language expressions that establish positive feelings a user has toward a brand and the extent to which a person associates the brand with key attributes.

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III. Archetypes: Characters of Bonds

The following six patterns or markers identify the character and nature of ultimate brand relationships and are consistently present among intimate brands.

1. Fulfillment

Exceeds expectations, delivering superior service, quality, and efficacy.

2. Identity

Reflects an aspirational image or admired values and beliefs that resonate deeply.

3. Enhancement

Enhancement occurs through better use of the brand—smarter, more capable, and more connected.

4. Ritual

Ingrains a brand into daily actions—more than habitual behavior. The brand becomes a vital part of daily existence.

5. Nostalgia

Focuses on memories of the past and the warm, poignant feelings associated with them. These are often brands a customer has grown up with.

6. Indulgence

Creates a close relationship centered on moments of pampering and gratification that can be either occasional or frequent.

IV. Stages: Strength of Bonds

Stages reveal and measure the depth and degree of intensity of an intimate brand relationship.

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Sharing is when the person and the brand engage and interact. Knowledge is 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.

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Bonding happens when an attachment is created, and the relationship between a person and a brand becomes more significant and COMMITTED. This is the stage of acceptance when TRUST is established.

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Fusing occurs 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. Stages reveal and measure the depth and degree of intensity of an intimate brand relationship.

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V. Brand Intimacy Quotient

The quotient is the score assigned to each brand from 1 to 100. The quotient is based on prevalence (the percentage of users who are intimate); intensity (where the relationship appears on the spectrum of three stages, sharing, bonding, and fusing, and character (performance on key archetypes). It is a shorthand score that demonstrates how a brand is performing relative to its ability to create ultimate brand relationships, and it enables comparisons to other brands in the same category or to the industry average.


1.4+ Billion Words Analyzed, 600+ Brands compared, 12 Years in the making, AI powered


During 2021, MBLM, with Relative Insight and Allen Advanced Analytics, conducted a comprehensive examination of over 600 brands and over 1.4 billion words used across select social media platforms. Using artificial intelligence; text analytics; natural language processing; sentiment and our Brand Intimacy measures of intensity, archetypes, and stages, we scored each brand on our Brand Intimacy Quotient. The quotient is a composite measure that combines the intensity, prevalence, and character of the relationship between consumers and brands. The higher the quotient score (from 0 to 100), the more intense the emotional relationship with a brand.

Brand Family Methodology

Utilizing our Brand Intimacy data, we have created Brand Family rankings. This requires that conglomerates featured have at least three ranked brands from our most recent study. We then averaged the portfolio archetypes and stages scores to develop a Brand Family Quotient Score. Note that the rankings are only based on portfolio brands included in our Brand Intimacy Study and do not necessarily feature every brand that may be part of a ranked conglomerate.