Apps and social platforms industry struggled to create intimate bonds, for the second year in a row, according to MBLM’s UAE Brand Intimacy 2018 Report, the largest study of brands based on emotions. Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm in marketing, which leverages the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. The study reveals that top intimate brands deliver superior results related to revenue and profit growth by creating deeper relationships with their consumers.
Apps and social platforms ranked 13th of out the 15 industries studied by the agency, dropping from its 12th place position in 2016. Skype championed the industry as the top most intimate social platform, followed closely by WhatsApp, Google Maps and Facebook. The remaining top 10 brands include Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, Zomato, Deliveroo and Twitter.
Skype not only performed well across all demographics, but was a particularly popular brand among women in the UAE who believe it is an essential part of their lives. However, it is likely that the brand’s level of intimacy will decrease if the ban extends throughout the year.
The study continues to demonstrate that it pays to communicate. A second communication-based app, WhatsApp, ranked the highest amongst men in the UAE. The brand performed the highest for the enhancement archetype, meaning that customers feel like the brand makes them better, smarter and more connected. Impressively, WhatsApp measured to be 162% more essential to its users’ daily lives than the industry average, ranking high for the archetype ritual. This suggests that the brand is ingrained into the consumer’s daily actions beyond habitual behavior.
Communication-focused applications like Skype or WhatsApp performing well in the United Arab Emirates is reflective of the country’s social DNA. The UAE is a vastly multicultural community, and communication with the outside world is essential to users, especially to expats and businesses. Accessible, regular and—most importantly—free communication is integral to the success of such social platforms.
“Methods of communications need to be adapted to the speed of the local economy,” said William Shintani, managing partner of MBLM Dubai. “A city like Dubai evolves at a speed much faster than many places in the world — think innovation, infrastructure, place-making — and with initiatives like Smart Dubai and the Happiness Agenda, apps that facilitate instant connectivity and opportunity perform well across personal and professional spheres.”
Facebook came in as the most intimate brand among millennials ages 18 to 34. The social platform performed particularly well for the ritual archetype, demonstrating that while Facebook’s popularity grows among older users, it remains an integral part of the daily lives of younger generations.
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 US, Mexico and the UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of consumer bonds.