Emotional connection: Emirates Airline and Apple win top honours in Brand Intimacy Report

Emirates is the only brand from the region that makes it to the top 10 list

Emirates Airline planes are seen at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
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Brand intimacy is defined as a pattern that “leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and brand”. This paradigm, say the team at branding agency MBLM, has several advantages.

For one, brands that appeal to people’s emotions have the ability to drive willingness to purchase, because intimacy creates a stronger sense of loyalty. In turn, the products and services provided by such a company display greater price resilience.

According to the Brand Intimacy 2019 report published by MBLM on February 17, top intimate brands have double the number of consumers who are willing to pay a premium of up to 20 per cent more.

“This is the largest study of brands based on emotions [for which] we modelled data from 18,200 interviews and approximately 156,000 brand evaluations to quantify the mechanisms that drive intimacy. We define brand intimacy as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love,” explains William Shintani, managing partner of MBLM.

“We now know more about how the human brain processes information and triggers our behaviours. For example, the majority of the decisions we make are based on emotion and instinct, not measured consideration. It’s been revealed that our decisions are the result of less deliberate, linear, and controlled processes than many of us realise," he adds.

The 2019 report found that Apple was the number one brand that enjoys an emotional bond with people in the UAE. This was followed by Emirates Airlines in second place.

In fact, Emirates is the only brand from the Middle East that makes it to the top 10 list. “The Emirates brand continues to raise and rank higher every year, from 13th place in 2017, 6th in 2018 to 2nd place in 2019. It performs high in the fulfillment archetype – fulfillment links to exceeding expectations and delivering superior service," notes Shintani.

Additionally, 32 per cent of users reported that they “cannot live without” Apple, while 21 per cent felt that way about Emirates.

“Interestingly, indulgence is the top archetype in the UAE this year, which is about close relationships centered around moments of pampering and gratification that can be occasional or frequent. Fulfillment was the top archetype last year, which is more about service and performance,” says Shintani, adding: "Automotive has been a dominant intimate industry in the UAE since we started the study. And for millennials, Apple, Google and Emirates followed by car brands are the topmost intimate brands in the last three years."

Accordingly, the next few spots were occupied by automotive brands, including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus (at number 8) and BMW (at number 9). And tech got two other nods, as Microsoft came in at position 6 and YouTube at 10, while this year’s surprise entrant was Nescafe, which jumped up 26 places, from position 33 in 2018 to number 7 in 2019.