By Alyssa Newcomb
February 15, 2019

Disney received the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift on Thursday when the company was named the “most intimate” brand based on a survey of consumers in the U.S. and the emotions they feel toward hundreds of popular companies.

The company overtook Apple to claim the top spot in an annual survey billed as “the largest study of brands based on emotions” and conducted by MBLM, a global agency that works with brands.

While 2019 iPhone leaks and getting the latest gadgets released by Tim Cook’s team are still of interest to consumers, the survey found that people felt more of an emotional connection with Disney, whether it’s through visiting Disneyland, or watching classics like “The Lion King.” And it might have something to do with people wanting to take a break from technology and all of the negative headlines in 2019.

The survey asked 6,200 consumers how they feel about various brands, which MBLM used to create a list ranking 400 top brands.

“Our demand for escapism and our collective need for a distraction from reality is factoring heavily in the brands that rose in 2019,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM.

Apple was dethroned from the top spot due to “its well-publicized missteps, and consumer gadget fatigue,” according to MBLM’s analysis. The iPhone maker has had a rough year due to stagnant iPhone sales and difficulty breaking into the Chinese market.

Amazon, Chevrolet, and Netflix rounded out the top five “most intimate” brands.

Not only do the top businesses have bragging rights that they’re pals with their customers, but it turns out, those relationships are also driving revenue. The most intimate brands in the U.S. have continually outperformed the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in terms of revenue and profit over the past decade, according to the study. The ten most “intimate” brands saw their revenue grow an average of 8.68% over the decade, compared to 3.66% for top Fortune 500 brands, and 4.75% for those topping the S&P index.

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