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After a long run at the top, Apple has ceded its position as the most “intimate” brand to US consumers, with Disney taking over, according to a new study [download page] by brand agency MBLM.

The measure on which brands are ranked is based on survey responses from 3,000 US consumers, designed to measure the extent to which they have relationships with brands – and the strength of those relationships. The results were used to form a Brand Intimacy Quotient for each brand, which is “a composite measure that reflects the intensity of the relationship between consumers and brands as well as the prevalence (usage) of the brand.” That measure appears as a score on a 1-100 scale.

While Apple held the top spot for several years, Disney has taken the lead as the brand with the strongest emotional bond with adults in the US. Disney’s Brand Intimacy Quotient was 77.9 compared to Apple’s 70.9. In 2018, Apple’s Quotient was significantly higher at 83.4, which gave the brand a clear lead over the other brands in the top 10 that year. Apple is also considered the US’ most valuable brand, with a value of approximately $316.1 billion.

Despite not holding the top position this year, Apple was the brand that more people feel attached to. More than one-third (38%) of respondents said they couldn’t live without the brand.

Coming in third in the rankings this year was Amazon, with a Quotient of 69.8 (up from 66.5 in 2018). Amazon is followed by Chevrolet (62.5) and Netflix (61.4), both of which moved up in ranking. YouTube, on the other hand, fell from #6 in 2018 to #8 this year with a Quotient of 56.2.

Brand intimacy differs somewhat across gender lines. Amazon claims the top spot for females but does not even make the top 5 for males. Only two brands (Apple and Disney) share a spot on both top five lists. Disney is ranked #1 by males and #2 by females, while Apple is ranked #2 by males and comes in third among females.

The top 5 list for females only contained brands included on the overall top 10 list. However, Whole Foods placed fifth on the males’ list but does not make an appearance on this year’s top 10 list.

Video viewing preference is also shown in the lists of males and females. Females ranked Netflix #4 in intimacy while the same position for men was YouTube.

Other Study Highlights

In other notable findings from the report:

  • YouTube may be towards the bottom of the top 10 overall – but among Millennials, it is the top brand (74.2) followed by Apple (70.5).
  • Amazon sits on the top of the list for both Gen X (35-54 years old) and Baby Boomers (55-64 years old) and is the only brand both age groups have in common.
  • Media & Entertainment holds the top position in the industry category in the US. Its industry average Quotient of 47.8 is well above the overall mean of 31.0.
  • For individuals with an annual income of $35-$100K, Amazon has the highest intimacy, while those with an income range of $100-$200K fel a better affinity towards Apple.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The ranking is derived from a survey of 3,000 US adults, who answered questions designed to measure the extent to which they have relationships with brands – and the strength of those relationships. The results were used to form a Brand Intimacy Quotient for each brand, “a composite measure that reflects the intensity of the relationship between consumers and brands as well as the prevalence (usage) of the brand.”

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