Apple Music apparently isn’t as ‘intimate’ as Spotify

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Apple Music brand intimacy
How does Apple Music make you feel?
Photo: Apple

We make choices based on emotion and feelings can change on a whim. The best brands understand this as a science and if bonded closely with its customer base, can successfully influence its purchasing choices.

So the marketing team in charge of Apple Music may want to huddle up after a report on brand intimacy released today saw the music streaming service drop from its No. 1 spot from last year to No. 5.

Pinterest was this year’s most intimate brand in the apps and social platforms industry, according to MBLM, a consulting firm that invented a new paradigm to help companies build stronger bonds with consumers for long-term success.

Apple Music brand intimacy and the competition

But Pinterest probably isn’t much concern to Apple Music. It fell behind two big music service competitors, No. 2 Spotify, and third-place Pandora.

“Spotify users are 60 percent more likely to say they can’t live without the brand than Apple Music users,” Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM, told Cult of Mac. “Spotify also has rising performance across Archetypes (character of the bonds with consumers) and Stages (intensity of the bonds) versus Apple Music.”

As a company overall, Apple gets some of the highest marks of any company across the globe in MBLM’s annual research. It was recently dethroned by Disney for the top rank, but has a pretty solid lock on first place when the focus is on technology companies.

MBLM also looks at apps and social media, though this category usually underperforms because apps are perceived as a utility that comes with a device.

For Apple Music, fifth-place is still pretty good considering the thousands of apps and services out there. Behind Apple Music in order was Facebook, Snap, Uber, Airbnb, and Venmo.

“Notwithstanding Apple’s strong business performance, I think both the parent brand and its products/sub-brands like Apple Music may be suffering from similar challenges,” Natarelli said. “Overall brand and gadget fatigue (and) lack of excitement or relevance with Gen Z.”

Despite the drop, Natarelli said, “Worth keeping in perspective that Apple is still one of three brands that excel across demographics and geographies. It also dominates the smartphone ecosystem, has growing services business and music subscribers and it will continue to be a top intimate brand for the foreseeable future.”

So what is Pinterest doing right? Pinterest is beloved by women, Natarelli said, but more and more men are using the app. Pinterest is also associated with commerce.

“Whether it is because Pinterest’s format is less vulnerable to divisive communication or because the brand has remained relatively free of controversy (compared to platforms like Facebook), users are simply more willing to trust Pinterest than they are other social media brands,” he said. “Pinterest isn’t just expanding its audience—it’s also deepening it. This is unique to the category, especially among social media brands, which often try to appeal to everyone and end up sacrificing emotional closeness with their users.”

MBLM’s findings are based on a series of online surveys that tap 6,200 consumers across the U.S. Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. For an in-depth look at the firm’s methodology, click here.