Disney has taken the top spot in research studying consumers’ emotional connection with brands. In MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2019 study—which measures the emotional science behind the bonds people develop with the brands they use and love—Disney overtook Apple for the first time to reach the No.1 position. Amazon came in at No. 3. Four of the top 10 are media and entertainment brands—up from three last year. The remaining brands in the top 10 were Chevrolet, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, PlayStation, YouTube, Ford and Chick-fil-A.

MBLM attributes Disney’s position to its associations with nostalgia and the strong ties it builds with both men and women across a variety of age groups, noting that Apple has lost some luster through well-publicized missteps and consumer gadget fatigue.

The Brand Intimacy 2019 Study highlights that the top intimate brands in the U.S. also significantly outperform the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years. The average revenue growth from 2008-2017 was 8.68 percent for the top 10 most intimate brands, compared to 3.66 percent for Fortune 500 top brands and 4.75 percent for top S&P companies. In dollar value, this translates on average to the top 10 intimate brands having $37 billion more in total revenue over a 10-year period compared to the Fortune 500 brands. The average profit growth during this same period was 44.98 percent for brand intimate companies compared to 20.45 percent for Fortune 500 companies and 6.37 percent for S&P companies.

“We know that customers who form strong emotional bonds with brands are willing to pay more and are less willing to live without them. Insights from our annual ranking of brands are providing lessons and new strategies for business leaders and marketers,” says Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. “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. 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.”

The Brand Intimacy 2019 Study contains the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,200 consumers and 56,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Data Dashboard, which features a brand ranking tool, showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.