Thrift sites give many mall brands a good second life.

MBLM, a brand intimacy agency, said today that retail ranked third in its Brand Intimacy 2017 report, preceded by the automotive sector and then media and entertainment in second. Within retail, the study found that Amazon ranked first for brand intimacy, followed by Whole Foods and Target. The remaining top 10 brands in the ranking are H&M, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ikea, The Home Depot and eBay.

The survey was conducted by Praxis Research Partners, a firm that surveyed 6,000 consumers and conducted 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and the UAE. The report ranked nearly 400 brands, and the company said it is the largest study of brands based specifically on emotions.

Brand intimacy measures the connection and depth of consumer bonds and is considered “a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand,” according to MBLM.

Amazon accounted for 43 percent of all online retail sales in the U.S. and 53 percent of growth in e-commerce, the report noted. Amazon’s commitment to prompt customer service and exhaustive offering of products requires a robust infrastructure for fuel. Subsequently, the company invests heavily in shipping and logistics — from buying trucks and leasing planes to building delivery drones.

This aligns with additional survey findings, namely that “fulfillment” is the chief archetype most commonly associated with retail, which encompasses service, quality, expectation and delivery. And, compatibly, higher-income individuals are more intimate with retail brands, according to the report.

Amazon

Amazon is ranked as number one for “brand intimacy.”  Courtesy Photo

Retail is one of only five industries with higher success rates in “building bonds with women [than] with men,” alongside consumer goods, fast food, health and hygiene and apps and social platforms, researchers of the study said. It was also noted that highly ranked “intimate” brands have outperformed Fortune 500 and S&P indices in revenue and profit over the last decade, while legacy brands such as Macy’s, Sears, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney and Dillard’s, that collectively closed 700 stores since 2013, have suffered from the conveniences afforded by younger, agile brands and e-commerce retailers.

Brands such as Sephora and H&M have strategically pivoted and retained its customer bases by utilizing new technologies and implementing digital and in-store amenities for shoppers.

Mario Natarelli, a partner at MBLM, said, “The retail category is in crisis. We know however, these brands, including the most successful ones, have the capacity to build strong bonds with consumers, based on convenience, quality and fulfilling expectations. Brand intimacy can offer brands in this category a way to deepen relationships and retain valuable customers.”

MBLM works with brands across a wide spectrum of industries, calling AT&T, United Way, Crane and First Data, clients.

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