iPhone ‘exhaustion’ weakens Apple’s bond with consumers

brand intimacy
Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to get close to the fans.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter
Apple and its fans still share a strong bond. But has the iPhone maker lost some of its touch?

Apple, named the top company for brand intimacy three years in a row, fell to second place to another brand known for tugging at the heartstrings of consumers, Disney.

Marketing and research firm MBLM developed the brand intimacy metric as a way to determine the emotional bonds consumers form with brands. The study gets input from more than 6,000 consumers in 15 countries to rank the touchy-feely stuff of nearly 400 brands.

The brands that leverage their connections with customers tend to outperform the Fortune 500 and S & P in revenue and profit, according to MBLM.

MBLM earlier this month released separate findings among millennials, which gave YouTube top marks with Apple, again, in second place.

Coming in second hardly seems like divorce is on the horizon, but the study’s authors shared theories on why Apple may have slipped.

“Apple’s fall to the second spot this year is substantial for three key reasons: first, it reflects the headwinds the company and brand are facing,” said Mario Natarelli, an MBLM managing partner. “Second, it highlights the fact that just like the human relationships that brand intimacy mimics, building and sustaining strong bonds is a continual process and third, the larger trend of the media and entertainment industry’s rise. Our demand for escapism and our collective need for a distraction from reality is factoring heavily in the brands that rose in 2019.”

No.’s 3 through 10 are Amazon, Chevrolet, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, PlayStation, YouTube, Ford, and Chick-fil-A.