Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. It measures the level of emotional connection a brand has with its customers. Most marketers and business leaders generally agree that brand can be a key asset, helping facilitate demand, encourage growth, ensure consistency of users, and create an advantage. Using the concept central to emotional branding that emotional response, as opposed to rational thought, dominates a customer’s buying choice, brand intimacy ascribes a qualitative approach to the emotional connection between brand and customer.
Brand intimacy posits that customers who have strong brand intimacy with a given brand have a powerful, positive emotional connection with that brand. Emotional connection is at the heart of Brand Intimacy and aligns with all we’ve learned about decision making from neuroscience and behavioral science. More specifically, it contends that in order for a brand to succeed, it must appeal and connect with a customer’s emotions in a deep and meaningful way. To start an intimate brand relationship, a consumer must exhibit a strong emotional connection with a brand. It is different from brand loyalty, which may be driven by loyalty programs, rewards, or sometimes a customer’s inability to opt for another brand.
Any brand of any size can apply the principles of brand intimacy to succeed. Essentially this involves building deeper and stronger bonds with stakeholders by leveraging emotion and reciprocity. Compared to Standard & Poor’s and the Fortune 500’s top brands, top intimate brands have been shown to outperform in revenue and profit annually and also over a duration of time. It is a marketing paradigm that keeps emotions at the core to shape the way customers ’emotionally’ connect with a brand to make purchase decisions and form long term relationships with brands. Building intimate brands requires continual attention and investment. Strong emotional connections that build these bonds come from three key factors. A strong Essence, the promise, and identity of your brand. A Compelling Story, the narrative that draws people in and engages them. Finally, the Experience, the complete orchestration of touch-points—both virtual and physical.
The brand intimacy model analyzes the relationship a consumer has with a brand. It is described as having three different levels: sharing, bonding, and fusing, each representing an increasing level of trust and emotional attachment a customer has to a particular brand. It is the science of emotions that captures how they influence the human decision-making process and how appealing to people’s instincts can help form strong bonds with them. The goal of brand intimacy is to create long-term purchasing relationships between consumers and particular companies.