MBLM Reveals Chipotle Comes Second Only to Starbucks for Brand Intimacy in the Fast Food Industry

U.S. Top Fast Food Brands 2017

“While it has a mixed Brand Intimacy profile, Chipotle has a lot going for it, including having more intimate customers than any other competitors,” Mario Natarelli, partner at MBLM.

MBLM, the Brand Intimacy Agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology, today revealed that Chipotle ranked second in the fast food industry, following only Starbucks, according to its Brand Intimacy 2017 Report. The report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions, found that the industry ranked eighth overall out of the 15 total studied. Brand Intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. According to the 2017 report, top ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years.

Chipotle ranked 64th in the study overall, out of nearly 200 brands, with a Brand Intimacy Quotient of 30.8. It beat out several dominant brands, including the remaining eight in the top 10 for the fast food industry: McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Domino’s, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, KFC and Burger King. Chipotle also ranked first for men in the fast food industry and performed well with millennials.

“While it has a mixed Brand Intimacy profile, Chipotle has a lot going for it, including having more intimate customers than any other competitors,” Mario Natarelli, partner at MBLM. “However, we believe that it needs to make and demonstrate tangible change in terms of its food safety controversies to build stronger bonds with consumers.”

In the past years, Chipotle’s popularity has grown exponentially from 16 locations in 1998 to 500 in 2005 to 2250 in 2017. Nonetheless, it has had food safety catastrophes along the way – including the 2015 outbreaks of E.coli and norovirus and the summer 2017 norovirus outbreak and rat incident in Dallas. This makes Chipotle an enigma and MBLM analyzed the fast casual giant to try to understand it from a Brand Intimacy perspective.

Chipotle has an impressive number of customers experiencing intimacy, mostly in the earliest stage. The stages of Brand Intimacy measure the depth and intensity of brand…

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