It’s Time to Look Beyond Brand Loyalty

The 6 ways consumers build long-lasting connections (and more profitable relationships) with the brands they love

In their newly released 2022 Brand Intimacy Report, MBLM has expanded their decade-long investigation into the questions: What really drives consumer loyalty? Going deeper than in previous years, the 2022 study evaluates more than 600 brands and includes an AI-driven analysis of 1.4 billion words. As I read through it, I found precise, vivid insights into how customers form bonds with brands, and what those brands do to actively, intentionally foster those emotional connections.

This year’s highest performing brands were: 1. Disney, 2. Tesla, 3. Apple, 4. Sony, and 5. Youtube. Rankings by industry showed Media & Entertainment on top, with Tech and Telecom a close runner-up, and Gaming and Crypto entering the top 10 for the first time. Interesting. But not too surprising, given the realities of most consumers’ lives over past two-plus years. 

The entire study is thought-provoking and well worth a read, drawing important links between strong brand intimacy ratings and profitability and other financial advantages. It also takes a fascinating view of different facets of brand intimacy, identifying “6 Brand Intimacy Archetypes.”

What are the 6 Archetypes?

Defined as “patterns or markers that are consistently present, in part or in whole, among intimate brands,” the Brand Intimacy Archetypes highlight distinct feelings or experiences that consumers crave from a brand experience. The approach creates a vivid and useful way of thinking about consumer relationships – and prioritizing gaps in customer experience (CX).

I’ve briefly summarized all six of them, focusing on the questions they raise. While not every organization can – or should – attempt to score at the top in all of them, keep in mind that many organizations that score at the of the Brand Intimacy study do perform extremely well against all.

Fulfillment: how strongly do your consumers believe that your brand will consistently deliver superior service and exceed their expectations?

Identity: does your brand reflect values or beliefs that are aspirational or otherwise resonate positively and deeply with your customers?

Enhancement: do consumers perceive that your organization can improve their lives by making them smarter, better informed, more capable, and/or more connected?

Ritual: have your consumers embraced your brand so completely that it has become a part of their everyday habits? Is your brand becoming part of daily life?

Nostalgia: Does your brand link positively and emotionally with consumer memories? 

Indulgence: Does your brand fulfill your customers’ wishes to feel treated as very special or even pampered, whether those moments of indulgence are actually delivered frequently or occasionally?

As I said, whether you believe you can (or should) realistically compete against all 6 archetypes, this research strongly suggests that these are connections that consumers crave today. It prompts important questions brands can ask themselves when evaluating their own CX performance, whether they’re Fortune 100 corporations, tiny startups, governmental agencies, or anything in between.

At Skybridge Americas, we specialize in meeting customers’ needs for consistently superior service and exceeding their expectations. If you would like to know more, please reach out. We would love to learn about your customer care needs and discuss how we can help!

You can read the entire MBLM study here.

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