Why users love a brand, product, service or experience is not a question easily answered, according to new research, but it would appear that technology brands have the upper hand.

Digital giants such as Google, Fitbit, Amazon and Netflix were at the top of a recent brand affection-measuring study carried out by consulting firm Accenture PLC’s research arm Fjord, which doubled as a test for the organization’s new Love Index.

To the extent the Index can identify why digital brands scored so well, the evidence points to their particular skill at meeting users’ individual needs, the researchers found, whether it’s Apple’s intuitive hardware and software, or Netflix customers’ love for binge watching.

In other words, people really enjoy “Netflix and chill,” and they want their other brand experiences, whether in the hospitality, automotive or banking industries, to be equally amazing.

When it came to precisely why they loved individual brands, the reasons were more nebulous: Netflix was fun; Fitbit was relevant; Apple was engaging; Facebook was social; Amazon was helpful. In the U.S., Apple, Microsoft and Netflix were in the top three most-loved brands. Only one non-technology company managed to squeeze into the top 10, with Walmart rounding out the list.

Amazon and Walmart both made the list as they excelled in “etail therapy,” according to The Love Index, by being helpful, relevant and engaging. Surprisingly, it observed, they scored low for being fun or social. Respondents gave good markets to Amazon for its large assortment of products in one place, ratings, reviews and suggestions for companion items.

Users’ feedback around why they love a brand is expressed in different ways, Fjord said. They will describe it as fun, for example, or say that it makes their life easier. However, these sentiments are not easily actionable. The organization also noted that the Net Promoter Score, which asks consumers whether or not they would recommend a company, and rates that company accordingly, does not ask the most critical question: Why?

Answering this question is what spurred the creation of The Love Index, and after two years of research and survey responses from 26,000 participants in three countries, Fjord has determined that brand love is in fact a science and has a formula. That formula breaks down brand love into five key dimensions:

  • Fun: Holds people’s attention in an entertaining way
  • Relevant: Makes it easy to find clear and customized information
  • Engaging: Identifies with people’s needs and adapts to their expectations
  • Social: Helps people to connect with each other
  • Helpful: Is efficient, easy and adapts over time

To conduct the study, Fjord examined both physical and digital brands in an array of industries, while also taking into account the thoughts and feelings of consumers of all ages, spanning Gen Z through Baby Boomers, in the US, UK and Brazil.

The organization believes The Love Index is applicable to any brand or industry, and by applying the system to rate a company and its competitors, it is possible to identify the areas in which a brand is succeeding and those in which it’s falling behind.

The index also showcases areas of opportunity by outlining the ways companies can adapt in a certain area to forever raise the bar for consumers and potentially disrupt their entire industry, it said.

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