Harley-Davidson Tops Automotive Industry In Brand Intimacy

Ever heard of “brand intimacy”? Most people haven’t. It’s a marketing term used to describe the emotional attachment between individuals and brands. When it comes to brand intimacy, one industry, the automotive industry, takes up many of the top positions. Ironically, the leader in the automotive category is not an automobile brand at all.

According to MBLM’s Brand 2017 Intimacy Report, Harley-Davidson has moved to the top of the automotive heap after ranking third in 2015. When the sheer number of cars sold is compared to that of motorcycles, the fact that a motorcycle-only brand could top this category is significant. While number-two-ranked BMW and number-four-ranked Honda also make and sell motorcycles, the number is dwarfed by the volume of cars these companies sell in the U.S., making Harley’s accomplishment even more remarkable.

The demographic groups that put Harley on top are consumers 35 to 44 years-old and for 45 to 64 year-olds. (Interestingly, the top brand for millennials is Chevrolet.) Still, HD ranked in the top three across all age groups, which illustrates the incredible strength of the brand among more than just the demos considered to be the Harley faithful. Clearly, Harley-Davidson is doing something right.

To find the rankings of brands based on emotion, MBLM analyzed the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries (ranging from apparel, beverages, consumer goods, luxury items, media/entertainment, and travel)  in the U.S., Mexico and UAE.

Read the press release below for more information.

Begin Press Release:


MBLM Announces Automotive Industry is #1 for Brand Intimacy

Brand Intimacy 2017 Report Reveals Harley-Davidson Ranks First in Category, Followed by BMW and Toyota               

NEW YORK — April 20, 2017 — MBLM, the Brand Intimacy Agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology, today revealed that the automotive industry ranked first in its Brand Intimacy 2017 Report. The report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions, found that Harley-Davidson placed first in the industry followed by BMW and Toyota. Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. According to the 2017 report, top ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years.

Harley-Davidson ranked third in MBLM’s 2015 report but overtook BMW and Toyota this year. In addition to being the strongest intimate category overall, the automotive industry is also the top industry for males, those older than 35 and those with a higher income. The remaining brands in the top 10 for the industry are: Honda, Jeep, Chevrolet, Ford, Volvo, Mercedes and Chrysler.

“The auto industry leads all others in the degree of intimate brands. Car brands form powerful bonds with us because they are both significant purchases and an extension of our identity and values. Cars make a statement about who we want to be and what we admire,” stated Mario Natarelli, partner at MBLM. “As technology continues to disrupt the category in terms of car sharing, autonomous vehicles and electric/hybrids, it will be interesting to see which brands adapt best to the changing needs and priorities of their customers.”

Leading brands like BMW, Toyota and Honda form powerful bonds with their customers through better (more reliable) performing cars and better service, delivering high-quality products that assure customers that their money was well spent.

While ranking first, the category is showing some potential signs of slippage compared to the 2015 report. Auto recalls hit a record high of 53.2 million in 2016, topping the 51.1 million recalls in 2015.

Other notable automotive industry findings from the report in the U.S. include:

  • The archetype most associated with the industry is fulfillment –  exceeding expectations, delivering superior service, quality and efficacy – and it has the highest average fulfillment score of any industry
  • The top brand for millennials is Chevrolet, for consumers 35 to 44 years-old is Harley-Davidson and for 45 to 64 year-old consumers is Harley-Davidson as well
  • Harley-Davidson has had success in building and maintaining intimacy across multiple generations, placing in the top three for all age groups; although the brand appears to be less popular with millennials, its ability to appeal to all ages is a sign of its strength as a brand
  • Millennials have less intense feelings of intimacy for their top brands than the older groups; the average brand intimacy quotient for the top three automotive brands for millennials is 59.5, while the top brands of consumers ages 35 to 44 average a score of 62.3, and those of consumers over 45 average a score of 62.6
  • Millennials are more comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles than consumers of other generations (47 percent versus 31 percent) and would also be more willing to use car-sharing services if they were readily available (42 percent versus 28 percent)

This year’s report contains the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

To download the full Brand Intimacy 2017 Report or explore the Ranking Tool please visit: http://mblm.com/brandintimacy/.

 

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