Top intimate brands in the U.S. continued to surpass the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Apple again dominated and was the top company in the study. Additionally, MBLM revealed that the media & entertainment industry ranked first overall for the first time, triumphing over automotive. Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.

The average revenue growth from 2007-2016 was 9.5 percent for the top 10 most intimate brands, compared to 4.37 percent for Fortune 500 top brands and 4.59 percent for top S&P companies. The average profit growth during this same time period was 19.14 percent for brand intimate companies, compared to 15.46 percent for Fortune 500 companies and 4.59 percent for S&P companies.

Amazon and BMW were the second and third most intimate brands in the U.S., according to MBLM’s report. The Top 10 was rounded out by: Jeep, Disney, YouTube, Target, Netflix, Whole Foods and Google.

“Our collective need to escape, cocoon and be entertained is growing, particularly with those 35 and under,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “Brands that are optimizing content for our preferences dominated in 2017 by creating strong bonds and powerful connections. We expect this trend to continue in 2018.”

This year’s report contains the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

Other notable findings in the U.S. include:

  • Retail was the number one industry for women, media & entertainment was the number one industry for men
  • Apple and Amazon built bonds across all age groups, and each ranked within the top five for each group
  • YouTube emerged from 25th place in 2017 to sixth in 2018, highlighting its growth ability to compete with other entertainment players
  • Technology & telecommunications brands were linked to enhancement, making users more connected and smarter
  • Top media & entertainment and apps & social platform brands were linked to ritual, habit-forming behaviors
  • Brands within the smartphone ecosystem outperformed all others that were ranked
  • As consumers moved from non-intimate to highly intimate, they were willing to pay more for a brand’s products and services

Apple was the number one brand in both Mexico and the UAE as well.

Natarelli discussed the study findings during his session, “Fostering Brand Intimacy in a Digital World,” at the HT-NEXT conference in San Diego on March 13, 2018. HT-NEXT is a leading conference for hospitality technology professionals and solution providers.


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