Which Apparel Brand Is Most Intimate with Customers?

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Which Apparel Brand Is Most Intimate with Customers?

Levi's ranked as the most intimate brand in the apparel industry, according to MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions.

MBLM is a brand intimacy agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology. Brand intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. According to the 2017 report, top-ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years.

The apparel industry performed slightly below the 15-industry average and comes in 7th out of 15 categories examined. The most intimate apparel brands in the U.S. following Levi's are: Nike, lululemon athletica, Under Armour, Adidas, Victoria's Secret, The North Face, Ralph Lauren, Gap and Puma.

"Brands that you wear are intimate by nature, yet this industry is falling short on its potential," says Mario Natarelli, MBLM's managing partner. "This may be because of a variety of factors from shifts in the way we shop to generational orientations and out-of-reach messages. However, we firmly believe there is room for the industry to build stronger emotional connections with consumers."

Other notable apparel findings in the U.S. include:
  • Indulgence is the dominant category archetype; however, only 24 percent of apparel customers surveyed are intimate with brands in the category
  • Levi's strongest association is related to nostalgia and it has the highest percentage of fusing with customers at nine percent
  • More than half of the top 10 brands are athletic related, aligning with the "athleisure" movement
MBLM hypothesized four potential reasons why this industry is falling short:
  • Apparel brands have become less relatable, what was once inspirational advertising, today are out of touch with most people and unbelievable
  • Brands pivoting to align with celebrities and pop culture figures, shifting away from a tradition of linking to athletes
  • Less intimate shopping experiences with the rise of e-commerce make it easier to shop for brands at a variety of outlets
  • Shift in Millennials, who are being drawn to superior service and web-based stores
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 U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM's reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of close to 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.