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Apple Ranks #1 in Brand Intimacy COVID Study, Indicating an Essential Role in the Pandemic

YouTube, Google and Walmart All Increase Emotional Connections with Customers, New Entrants Zoom, Lysol and Purell Rank High for Increased Usage Measures

NEW YORK — October 7, 2020 — Apple ranks as the #1 most intimate brand during COVID, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy COVID Study, a study of brands based on emotional connections during the pandemic. MBLM (pronounced Emblem) uses emotional science to build and manage more intimate brands. Amazon and Google are second and third in the study overall, respectively. Brand Intimacy is the emotional science behind the bonds we form with the brands we use and love.

MBLM’s study reveals that the remaining brands in the top 10 are Walmart, YouTube, Toyota, Disney, Netflix, Chevrolet and PlayStation. The COVID rankings show many of the top Brand Intimacy performers continuing to lead. However, there were three new top 10 entrants, Google, YouTube and Toyota. There has also been a shift in focus with more media & entertainment brands in the top 10 and fewer automotive brands, suggesting consumers turned to the enjoyment provided by media & entertainment brands, and became less reliant on their cars.

Top intimate brands have also continued to significantly outperform the leading brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 indices across revenue growth, profit growth and stock price during the first quarter of 2020, compared to the first quarter of 2019. The percentage differences are significant and indicate the degree to which intimate brands generate millions more dollars in revenue.

“We are facing a once-in-a-generation disruption to every facet of our lives. Our COVID study reveals the impact on the world’s leading brands,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “We have uncovered that consumers have increased the number of brands they are bonding with. As we all look towards recovery, this comprehensive data can help businesses and their brands navigate what’s next.”

The study also revealed additional noteworthy findings, including:

  • During the pandemic, consumers have shown a 23 percent increase in the number of brands they are connecting with emotionally

  • Media & entertainment, automotive and retail are the top 3 industries

  • Apple is the top brand for women and millennials, while men rank Amazon as their #1 brand

  • During the pandemic, men are forming deeper attachments to brands compared to women

  • Zoom is the top brand that people were using more during the pandemic, followed by Purell and Netflix

  • Purell is the #1 brand for consumers willing to pay 20 percent more for its services or products. Last year, the top-ranked brand for this measure was Rolex

  • Brands that are part of the smartphone ecosystem increased in strength during COVID, particularly access brands like Verizon and AT&T

  • New entrant Tesla ranks #1 in the automotive industry for having the largest percent of customers willing to pay 20 percent or for more the brand’s products

During late summer 2020, MBLM conducted a quantitative survey of 3,000 consumers in the U.S. to detail their experiences across 10 industries and 100 brands. The Brand Intimacy COVID Study focuses on highlights, insights and rankings from this survey. To see the study’s detailed methodology, click here.

About MBLM

MBLM has invented a new marketing paradigm, Brand Intimacy, delivering expertise and offerings across three areas of focus: Agency, Lab and Platform. With offices in four countries, our multidisciplinary teams help clients build stronger bonds and deliver optimized marketing outcomes and returns for the long term. To learn more about how we can help you create and sustain ultimate brand relationships, visit

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