Consumers ranked Amazon, Disney, Apple, Ford and Jeep as the top five brands they have a strong emotional connection with, according to the 10th annual MBLM Brand Intimacy 2020 Study. MBLM surveyed 6,200 consumers in the US, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates in November 2019 about their experiences with nearly 400 brands across 15 industries.
This year’s report features a new top brand, Amazon, with a narrow lead over Disney. Last year’s brand intimacy report included four media and entertainment brands in the top 10; this year, the report includes three.
Thirty-three percent of Amazon users said they can’t live without the brand. Amazon is the only brand to make the top five list across generations.
In terms of retail brands, Walmart comes closest to Amazon, earning the ninth spot on the brand intimacy list. Whereas 21 percent of consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for Amazon, 14 percent of consumers are willing to do the same for Walmart products.
In second place is Disney; 27 percent of its consumers say they can’t live without the brand. Still, users of Netflix, which ranked sixth on the brand intimacy list, are more likely to pay 20 percent more for Netflix services than Disney consumers are likely to pay for Disney goods and services.
Apple ranked third on the list. Consumers are almost just as likely to pay 20 percent more for Apple products as they are for Samsung products (22 percent for Apple vs. 20 percent for Samsung).
The auto industry has improved its brand intimacy standing, with four auto brands landing the top 10 list, including Ford in fourth place. Jeep came in fifth; 18 percent of consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for Jeep, whereas 15 percent of Ford consumers are willing to do the same for Ford cars.
The remaining brands in the top 10 list include Netflix in sixth, followed by BMW, Chevrolet, Walmart and PlayStation.
Gen Z respondents ranked Xbox and Spotify as the top two brands they feel a connection with. While Gen Zers agree that both brands have become ingrained in their daily life, more Xbox users (60 percent) felt an immediate connection with the brand compared to Spotify (50 percent).
There were no shared brands among income groups. Both groups ($35,000-$50,000 and $75,000-$100,000) selected retail brands as top performers (Amazon and Target), though the former favors media and entertainment brands more than the latter, which named various industries in its top five (Apple, North Face and Whole Foods).
In terms of consumer goods, people report feeling a close bond with Hershey’s; those with incomes both over and under $100,000 ranked Hershey’s as their favorite, ranking it the highest for inducing nostalgia. Hershey’s was also the top consumer goods brand among women and consumers over 35 years old.
Kellogg’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Nestle and Campbell’s comprise the remainder of the top five consumer goods brands.
Hershey’s, though its new messaging doesn’t explicitly address the pandemic, has pulled spots of people socializing and has shifted to product advertising. The brand recently partnered with DC Comics to launch limited-time superhero-themed chocolate bars that were distributed to healthcare and emergency workers before being launched in stores.
Kellogg’s messaging focuses on its gratitude for its employees and other essential workers, while Ben & Jerry’s highlights racial and economic justice during the crisis.
MBLM research shows that intimate brands generate millions more dollars in revenue and profit annually and over the long run than the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 top brands. From 2009-2018, brands with a high intimacy ranking saw a 6.47 percent growth in revenue, compared with a 5.08 percent growth in revenue for Fortune 500 brands.
Brands with a high intimacy ranking also have double the number of consumers willing to pay 20 percent more for their goods and services.