Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Q&A: Why YouTube is the most intimate brand among Millennials (Includes interview)

MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2019 Study is very revealing as to how consumers and brands interact. The survey is the largest study of brands based on emotions. Of interest to 2019 is the fact that Disney overtook Apple for the first time in, with these two firms followed by Amazon, in third place. The remaining brands in the top 10 were: Chevrolet, Netflix, Harley-Davidson, PlayStation, YouTube, Ford and Chick-fil-A.

There are variations with different demographic groups. For instance, Millennials selected YouTube as their top brand, while the age groups from 35-54 and 54-64 both selected Amazon. To discover more about these trends and why brand intiamcy matters for many businesses, Digital Journal caught up with Rina Plapler, partner at MBLM.

Digital Journal: How important is Brand Intimacy for companies?

Rina Plapler: We believe Brand Intimacy and emotional science is extremely important for companies. While the world around us has changed dramatically, and impacted how we consume, buy and sell, approaches to marketing and brand building have largely stagnated. Most feature models, structures, and thinking from decades ago that tend to focus on the importance of rational, hierarchical-based thinking and create constructs designed to mimic a deliberate decision-making process.

Brand Intimacy was designed to align to our lives today and is also based on advances in behavioral science and neuroscience, leveraging an understanding of our decision-making processes and the importance of emotion. Companies need to ensure their brands maximize all opportunities to build strong relationships with customers. Top intimate brands have also consistently outperformed the S&P and Fortune 500 top brands across profit and revenue growth.

DJ: What changes have occurred with the top 10 brands this year in the U.S.?

Plapler: The biggest change is for the first time since we have done our annual study, Apple is not the #1 ranked intimate brand. Disney has risen to the top position. Four of the top 10 brands are now media & entertainment oriented and automotive brands also have an increased presence among the top rankings. Chick-fil-A, the fast food restaurant, is a new top 10 entrant as well.

DJ: How does Brand Intimacy vary for different generations?

Plapler: Consumers of all ages connect with brands in emotional ways, however, those brands can vary. Consumers age 54-64 had no media and entertainment brands among their top 5, while those 18-34 had 3 out of their top 5 being media & entertainment related. Those 54-64 prioritized retail, consumer goods and automotive.

DJ: Is there a socio-economic relationship?

Plapler: We don’t find that certain socio-economic levels are more or less likely to have intimate brand relationships. Like age, or gender, it’s another demographic component. Interestingly, we haven’t found the higher income respondents are more likely to select luxury brands.

DJ: What are the top brand for millennials, in contrast to other ages?

Plapler: YouTube is the top brand for millennials and in general, this brand does best with younger consumers. Apple and Disney build strong bonds with users under 54, whereas Amazon has more success with older users, 35-64. It is also worth noting millennials and users 35-54 are more intimate with media and entertainment brands, whereas older consumers do not have any brands from this category in their top 5.

The top brands for millennials are: YouTube, Apple, Netflix, Disney and Nike.

Most intimate brands for millennials for 2019.

Most intimate brands for millennials for 2019.

Whereas the top brands for 35-54 ages are: Amazon, Apple, Disney, Chick-fil-A and Netflix. With the 54-64 year olds, the top brands are: Amazon, Quaker, Ford, Hershey and EBay.

DJ: How important is it for brands to have a digital presence?

Plapler: It’s essential for brands to have both digital and mobile presence these days. All of our leading brands are strong in this regard and some brands like YouTube and Netflix use their digital presence to deliver their brand. We have also found that brands that have a strong presence on smartphones generally outperform those that do not. We refer to this as “the smartphone ecosystem.”

This ecosystem is divided into four groups: apps, access, content/info services, and devices, and the content/info services category consists mostly of media & entertainment brands. Content services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube have leveraged the popularity and versatility of smartphones to be in consumers’ pockets at all times and play a more a more integral and intimate role in their daily lives.

DJ: How do the leading brands do right, in terms of connecting emotionally with people?

Plapler: Leading brands build emotion into their essence. The experience of their brand is imbued with emotion consistently. Brand Intimacy archetypes are leveraged and communication is clear, compelling and instinctive. Additionally, leading brands invite dialogue and engagement, letting the consumer be part of a two-way relationship.

DJ: How do you conduct your research?

Plapler: Our annual research is a quantitative study, based on nearly a decade of researching the topic of brand intimacy.

Avatar photo
Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

You may also like:


God help America, because you clowns sure aren’t helping at all.


It was widely seen as his main mission — dislodge Trump from the White House, then bow out, with elegance, after one term.

Tech & Science

Banks aren't working. People can't get their money. Families can't buy food because supermarkets are down.


US President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he was dropping out of his reelection battle with Donald Trump.