Auto industry drives COVID brand intimacy despite supply chain challenges

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Marketing, Public Relations

The automotive industry ranked #2 out of the 10 industries featured in the 2021 Brand Intimacy COVID Study a study of brands based on emotional connections during the pandemic, from marketing intimacy agency MBLM (pronounced Emblem), which uses emotional science to build and manage more intimate brands.

Toyota is the top automotive brand, up from fifth position before the pandemic, followed by Harley-Davidson and BMW, respectively. Brand Intimacy is the emotional science behind the bonds we form with the brands we use and love.

Although the industry has faced manufacturing and supply chain challenges related to COVID, the industry was ranked #2 for the second year in a row. Brand Intimacy performance increased by an average of 5 percent since before the pandemic. Other brands rounding out the top 10 are Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Tesla, and Audi, respectively.

Auto industry drives COVID brand intimacy despite supply chain challenges

“Automotive brands continue to be among the strongest Brand Intimacy performers,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “Consumers closely identify with their car brands and the essential role they play in our lives. With supply shortages, this year we saw a 47 percent increase in consumers willing to pay 20 percent or more for automotive products, highlighting the important bond we have with these brands. COVID has intensified our emotional connection to automotive brands, and we expect the industry to continue to thrive as it works to improve operations and manufacturing.”

Additional noteworthy automotive industry findings in the U.S. include:

  • The U.S. automotive industry had an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 48.4, well above the cross-industry average of 38.2
  • Harley-Davidson, BMW, and Honda all showed improvement, while Chevrolet, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz all declined
  • The industry’s “can’t live without” measure, based on a 10-point scale that determines how essential a brand is to our lives, rose 87 percent since our 2020 study
  • Harley-Davidson is the highest-ranked automotive brand for which consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for, with 25 percent of all users willing to do so
  • Automotive ranks first among all industries for the highest percentage of users in sharing and bonding, the earliest and middle stages of Brand Intimacy
  • The industry does better with men than women, and with consumers over 35 than under

How 10 industries rank for COVID brand intimacy:

Auto industry drives COVID brand intimacy despite supply chain challenges

MBLM also analyzed the industry in an article entitled “Driving Ultimate Brand Relationships”. The piece addresses how brands have confronted the pandemic and how their messages have varied from 2020 to 2021.

To view the automotive industry findings, please click here. To download the main Brand Intimacy COVID Study report or explore the Rankings, click here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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