Nandini Nayak

The Love Index: Why we love the brands we do

What makes someone love a brand? What brand qualities do consumers value most in different industries? What’s the most loved brand in the world?

Fjord’s 2016 Love Index, a radically-new, scientific system for measuring brand love, answered all of these questions and more. What’s even more interesting than the results, though, is the extensive research that went into finding them.

The effort was spearheaded by Nandini Nayak, Fjord’s Managing Director of Design Strategy, and Tchicaya Robertson, Ph.D., Global Lead of Product Services Research at Accenture, and required two years of qualitative and quantitative research involving 26,000+ participants in three countries: the US, the UK and Brazil.

Our goal was to uncover brand experience affinity – in other words, how much a user loves a specific brand experience and the reasoning behind that love. We wanted to know what makes them download something, what makes them share something, what makes them say “wow!?”

We looked at thoughts, feelings and the language people used around the world to derive 18 attribute statements relative to a specific brand experience. Each attribute is the product of qualitative research designed around a specific aspect of brand “love” and tested for reliability.

Each of these statements falls into one of five key dimensions (we call them FRESH), which, collectively, can help gauge a person’s love for a brand and inform design:

  • 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

We developed the Love Index as a system that can be applied to evaluate and score any brand in any industry. This information can then be plotted on a graph to reveal industry averages and standards, compare the brand directly against its competitors and reveal opportunities for improvement.

For the massive 2016 benchmark study, we applied the research in many different ways.

We asked people to name and rank their favorite brand (we called these top-of-mind brands, and what was remarkable was that the vast majority of the brands people named were digital). We also gave them specific brands (called prescribed) to rate in four industries: Retail, Automotive, Banking and Hospitality. We surveyed respondents across generations and geographies, so that we could examine a wide cross section of consumers. And we ensured that the attributes were designed so we could measure brands’ performance in the both the digital and physical realm, as well as overall.

From this, a reliable, repeatable and revolutionary system for measuring brand love (and a way for brands to design for love, which was previously nebulous and intangible) emerged.

It’s The Love Index… and we’re just getting started.

Nandini Nayak

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