The New York-based Luxury Institute released its innovative 2018 Emotionally Intelligent Brand Index, featuring annual rankings and ratings for leading luxury automotive brands by affluent US consumers. The Emotionally Intelligent Brand Index methodology was developed using 10 years of proprietary, quantitative and qualitative research with affluent consumers, front-line associates, managers and executives, Columbia University faculty, and neuroscience experts. The survey distills the critical components of brand equity according to luxury consumers in the 21st century.
According to the nationally representative sample of 1,200 US affluent consumers, Mercedes-Benz is overall the most emotionally intelligent brand followed closely by Lexus. Mercedes-Benz earns an overall score of 7.28 out of a maximum possible 10. Mercedes-Benz’s score is driven primarily by the two elements of brand expertise, which account for 50% of the score weighting, including quality of products and customer service experience. Mercedes-Benz outperforms Porsche, which also scored high on both product quality and customer service experience.
On the elements that drive human bonds and emotional connection, which account for the other 50% of the overall score, Mercedes-Benz is a distant second to Lexus, but still manages to take first place overall. Lexus ranks #1 in demonstrating empathy (understanding a client’s needs), #1 in trustworthiness (serving the client’s interests first) and #1 in generosity (demonstrating generosity and kindness to its employees, clients and society at large).
BMW, while being the leader in current ownership levels, and near-term purchase intent, is #4 in quality and #5 in customer service experience. Similarly, on the emotional experience metrics, BMW is a distant fifth. In fact, on the metric of actually having recommended the brand to others, or having recommended against the brand to others, BMW leads both metrics, respectively at 19% and 8%, indicating that BMW is a bipolar brand.
Tesla, which is supposed to be the disruptor in the category, scores #6 in quality and #7 in customer service experience. It scores #11 in emotional intelligence out of the 16 brands rated by affluent consumers.
“Most of the automotive industry is stuck in an Industrial Age engineering and soulless mindset,” said Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute and EIX CEO. “Of course, affluent consumers across all generations, but especially millennials, demand that brands deliver exceptional quality and customer service. This is table stakes and a cost of entry. Automotive brands have to step up their game dramatically and deliver great products and service with emotional intelligence through every communication element, as well as every human being who represents the brand. Compared to hospitality brands such as Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, automotive brands are way behind. Brands such as BMW and Tesla, among many others, need to disrupt their engineering mindsets and cultures and become far more humanistic,” said Pedraza.
The EIBI survey also provides rated brands with their full, detailed scores by demographic customer segments, as well as the ratings of their competitive set. Brands rated and ranked are in alphabetical order:
- Alfa Romeo
- Land Rover
The EIBI survey is an extension of the Luxcelerate high-performance client relationship system pioneered by Luxury Institute 10 years ago using advanced neuroscience, high performance science, and tech science. Luxcelerate helps to transform the brand’s executives, managers and front-line teams into emotionally intelligent, high-performance relationship builders. By optimizing high humanity with high performance, Luxcelerate has dramatically improved customer data collection, conversion, retention rates and profitability for small, medium and large brands across the world.