Global brand experience firm FRCH Design Worldwide released its 2015 Brand Actualization study last month. The mission of the study is to assess the intersection between people’s lives and the brands they choose to engage with using a measurable framework; it’s intended to serve as a toolkit to measure a brand’s ability to deliver on the functional and emotional building blocks of engagement.
FRCH execs contend that while brands clearly understand the value of creating long-term emotional connections, they often struggle with how to establish guiding principles to achieve success. Brands with the highest Brand Actualization scores have a hyper-focused vision and vocabulary to serve a clear target customer.
The study measured 50 retail companies on a set of core touchpoints — advocacy, relationship, corporate soul, experiences, image and personality, craft and technology — to identify how brands can best engage with a target customer to maximize the value of their interaction.
Advocacy is considered the pinnacle of engagement, where consumers actively promote and help the brand engage others. FRCH identifies Anthropologie as a leader, citing a plethora of ways it makes customers feel important and valued including the retailer’s “treasure hunt” approach to merchandising and storytelling.
On the technology front, the Disney brand stands out based on the collection of web, mobile, in-store and social media touchpoints that make up the brand’s digital footprint. Disney recently began incorporating digital experiences throughout its parks, relying on the “Magic Band” bracelet to humanize the interface — contextualizing each park-goer’s experience and drawing them closer to the characters.
The top 10 retail brands were The Disney Store, Oakley, Sephora, Zara, Anthropologie, Fossil, Michael Kors, Coach, Bath and Body Works and REI.