A new study that explores the concept of “brand intimacy” reveals a great deal about how consumers perceive high-visibility companies.
The release of the MBLM Brand Intimacy 2017 Report rates companies based on consumer emotions. As MediaPost’s Tanya Gazdik explains, it’s about “leveraging and strengthening the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.”
And as you’d hope, brands that outperform in this key measure of intimacy have performed better both in revenues and profits over the last decade. That’s important because emotions often translate to more sales, whether in a department store or a car dealer showroom. While we all want to get a great deal or get lost in key metrics, it’s often the connectedness we feel to brands that drives sales and the decision-making process that guides them.
And it turns out that automotive-related brands top the list among key demographics near and dear to radio. We’re talking men, those over 35, and consumers with a higher income. On top of that heap are brands like Harley-Davidson, BMW, and Toyota. Other car makers with solid brand intimacy include Honda, Jeep, Chevy, Ford, Volvo, and Chrysler.
Mario Natarelli, MBLM Partner, explains why automotive brands score so well in this survey of 6,000 consumers:
“Cars make a statement about who we want to be and what we admire.”
It’s another reason why radio’s ongoing relationship with carmakers is so essential as both storied industries move forward into “disruption territory.” Car makers are facing great turbulence as autonomous vehicles, electrification, and shared mobility all threaten to upend their business model.
Radio needs to cement its place in dashboards, as well as in the showrooms and corporate offices of the auto industry, as the road ahead becomes less predictable.
At the NAB Show this week in Las Vegas, it’s been heartening to see an automotive heartbeat. Ford has presence on the convention floor (our jācapps team was a featured partner in their area) with an eye-catching Mustang Shelby GT.
Scott Burnell. Ford’s Global Lead or Business Development and Partner Management, keynoted the “Radio Lunch,” making important points about radio’s past, present, and future.
And overall, it is becoming more and more obvious that radio companies and it leaders, along with state broadcaster associations and other groups are rapidly realizing the importance of bonding with automotive.
That’s the good news. The challenge is that the days of radio taking for granted its prime space in the dashboard are rapidly going to be numbered as more and more “connected cars” hit the road.
But radio’s ability to engage car companies and the local stores that sell them in markets big and small across America remains solid – if the industry can marshal its resources, focus its message, and create strong initiatives that build on the brand intimacy so many automakers have earned.
Many radio stations across the country have wisely invested in their audience relationships. I would suggest that many of the call letters you see festooned across the top of the ratings rankers are most likely to be stations that exude a great deal of brand intimacy.
In the long run, the car companies that survive will mix research, investment, innovation, and that elusive emotional bond with consumers to live to fight another day.
Radio companies would be smart to steal a page or two out of their playbook.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.