Brand intimacy

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Brand intimacy measures the level of emotional connection a brand has with its customers.[1] Using the concept central to emotional branding that an emotional response, as opposed to rational thought, dominates a customer’s buying choice, brand intimacy ascribes a qualitative approach to the emotional connection between brand and customer.

Brand intimacy posits that customers who have strong brand intimacy with a given brand have a powerful, positive emotional connection with that brand. More specifically, it contends that in order for a brand to succeed, it must appeal and connect with a customer’s emotions in a deep and meaningful way. [2][3] 

Compared to Standard & Poor’s and the Fortune 500’s top brands, top intimate brands have been shown to outperform in revenue and profit annually and also over a duration of time.[4]

Brand Intimacy qualities[edit]

Although emotional connection is necessary for brand intimacy, not every customer who has formed an emotional connection with a brand necessarily reaches a stage of brand intimacy.  Instead, the forming of an intimate relationship between brand and customer (or user of a brand) is often completed in a series of stages of increasing intimacy[5]. These stages are:  

i. Sharing

During the sharing stage, the brand user and brand engage with each other. The user gains an understanding of the brand, its purpose and reputation; the brand also gains an understanding of its user or audience base. [6]

ii. Bonding

During the bonding stage, the level of intimacy between user and brand strengthens, with a level of acceptance and trust achieved between the two.[6]

iii. Fusing

During the fusing stage, the user and brand are strongly linked, to the point that the emotional connection between the two takes on a form of mutual expression. At this stage of brand intimacy, a brand has not only formed a part of the user’s daily experience, the brand often provides a service that the user cannot live without.[7]


Six qualities or archetypes have been found to be present in brand intimate relationships.[8][7] These archetypes are markers or characteristics that through research have been found to be consistently present among intimate brands relationships.  


i. Fulfillment

In a brand intimate relationship, exceed expectations.


ii. Identity

In a brand intimate relationship, the brand reflects an aspirational image or admired values that resonate deeply with a user.


iii. Enhancement

In a brand intimate relationship, the brand succeeds in enhancing the user’s life by making it smarter, more capable and more connected.


iv. Ritual

In a brand intimate relationship, ritual is stronger than habit[7], with the brand becoming a ritualized part of the user’s daily life.


v. Nostalgia

In a brand intimate relationship, a brand succeeds in inspiring in the user past, positive memories and associations of comfort.


vi. Indulgence

In a brand intimate relationship, a brand is able to indulge the user through pampering and gratification   

Application to brands[edit]

Brand intimacy has been studied in industries such as tech, retail, fast food, financial services, automotive, and in both household and smaller brands.  These studies have included analysis at an industry level, as well as brand level. For each brand included in these studies, the brand’s stages and archetypes of brand intimacy have also been analyzed. Studies of brand intimacy have provided data and insight into how both industries and brands are trending as far as their emotional connection with customers. [9][10][11]  

Among brands, Apple has consistently scored the highest of all brands for brand intimacy[3][12], with Amazon and Disney also measuring competitively for brand intimacy.[13] The level of brand intimacy has been shown to not be dependent on size or recognition of brand.[14]

References[edit]

  1. "Building Brand Intimacy: How to Emotionally Connect With Customers". Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  2. "How to Emotionally Connect with Your Customers". business.com. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "This Study Says Apple Is the World's Most Intimate Brand". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  4. "Apple remains the world's most intimate brand". www.digitaljournal.com. 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  5. "The Principles Of Brand Intimacy". Branding Strategy Insider. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  6. 6.0 6.1 ""Brand Intimacy" - An Interview with Mario Natarelli". The Marketing Journal. June 3, 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 ""Brand Intimacy" – An Interview with Mario Natarelli". Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  8. authors, I. love Tech; publishing; writers, talking incessantly about them My passion is partnering with authors to bring worthwhile content to publication I. started this WusNews com blog as a way to create a community of; Published, Both; Publication, Seeking (2018-08-21). "Brand Intimacy Study Underscores Today’s Nuances in Customer-Brand Relationships". Influencive. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  9. "Apps and social media platforms lack brand intimacy, study finds". Marketing Dive. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  10. Nonninger, Lea. "Consumers don't feel connected to brands in financial services". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  11. "Appliances Industry Ranked Second to Last in MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2018 Report". Kitchen & Bath Business. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  12. Vena, Danny (2018-03-18). "The 5 Brands Consumers Love Most -". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  13. Greenberg, Gregg (2017-02-02). "Why 'Intimate' Brands Like Amazon, Apple and Netflix Beat the Market". TheStreet. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  14. Harrison, Kate. "How To Create Brand Intimacy". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-01-18.

External links[edit]


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