Marketers strive to help brands build the powerful emotional bonds that underlie long-term customer loyalty. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted those efforts for some and emboldened them for others. MBLM sought to uncover which brands have retained the strongest emotional bonds as 2020 has unfolded.
The brand relationship agency surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers about their experiences with 100 brands total in 10 industries, looking specifically for brand intimacy, which it describes as the bonds consumers form with the brands they love. That love is growing: Consumers in the study showed a 23 percent increase in the number of brands they’re connecting with emotionally during the pandemic.
According to MBLM’s “Brand Intimacy COVID Study,” Apple rose above the other companies to rank as the number one most intimate brand during the COVID crisis. Amazon and Google placed second and third overall, respectively. Other brands in the top 10 are Walmart, YouTube, Toyota, Disney, Netflix, Chevrolet, and PlayStation.
Not surprisingly, Purell is the number one brand in terms of consumers’ willingness to pay a 20 percent premium to purchase. Last year, Rolex held this top honor.
These rankings highlight how top performers in terms of brand intimacy are also category leaders. The top intimate brands have continued to outperform the leading Fortune 500 and S&P 500 brands across revenue growth, profit growth, and stock price during Q1 2020, compared to Q1 2019, the study finds.
The study also shows a shift that aligns with consumers’ changing behaviors during the pandemic, with more media and entertainment brands in the top 10 and fewer automotive brands. This change suggests that consumers have turned more to media and entertainment brands for enjoyment and are relying less on their cars. Still, automotive is the number two most intimate industry, behind number-one-ranked media and entertainment and ahead of retail, which ranked number three.
“We are facing a once-in-a-generation disruption to every facet of our lives,” MBLM managing partner Mario Natarelli said in a statement. “Our COVID study reveals the impact on the world’s leading brands…. As we all look towards recovery, this comprehensive data can help businesses and their brands navigate what’s next.”
This article originally appeared on MKTGinsight.