UAE consumers feel the closest emotional bond with automotive brands, according to MBLM’s second UAE Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, a study that is based on emotions. The most intimate brand in the UAE for the second year in a row is Apple, followed by car brands BMW and Ford. The top 10 is rounded out by Lexus, Audi, Google, Mercedes, Louis Vuitton, Hilton and Nescafé.
“At MBLM, we have the understanding that the quantity, quality and character emotional bonds created between brands and consumers is at the heart of achieving greater business objectives and growth. Leveraging the new science of these emotional bonds gives us a new framework to navigate the opportunities – and pitfalls – of the UAE marketing landscape,” said William Shintani, Partner at MBLM.
“What we know from the latest neurological research is that decisions are emotional – not logical. We also know that brands using this knowledge to their advantage have an impressive track record,” added Jae Hwang, Partner at MBLM.
Brands with higher intimacy among consumers foster decision-making and make stronger business sense. The top 10 most intimate brands continue to outperform established financial indices in both revenue and profit growth over the last 10 years. In addition, these brands command a price premium, enjoying more financial resilience than brands in the same industries that are not intimate.
According to the 2017 study, automotive and technology brands are consistently in the top two categories across gender, age and income. Apple, the top ranked brand overall, has the largest percentage of fusing customers – when an individual and a brand become attached. It is also the highest-rated brand related to the indulgence archetype.
Hilton, ranked ninth, has the highest rating for the archetypes of identity and nostalgia. While ‘identity’ reflects aspirational images or admired values that resonate deeply, the ‘nostalgia’ archetype focuses on memories of the past and the warm, poignant feelings associated with them. Conversely in the US, Disney ranked highest for the archetype nostalgia.
Nescafé, which rose significantly in the ranks from last year, developed several products specifically for the region like Nescafé Arabiana, the first ever instant Arabic coffee. Sales for Nescafé beat estimates in the second half of 2016, rising 3.9 percent on an organic basis.
Similarly to the US market, the luxury industry reveals that premium brands may not be doing as well as expected to build emotional connections with their consumers in the UAE – except with women and those under 35. Conversely, brands in media, entertainment, technology and telecommunications show strong customer intimacy, especially amongst millennials. This may be due to the generally melancholic mood of the past year, resulting in a common need for escapism and a distraction from stress.
This year’s Brand Intimacy Report analyzed responses of 6000 consumers and 54000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the US, Mexico and UAE. Key brand intimacy associations in the study – like nostalgia, personal enhancement, identity and ritual – are designed to give a better understanding of how brands create powerful emotional connections with consumers.