Characteristics of a Passionate Brand

You might wonder why brands care about passion. Why not simply focus on sales? The truth is that the way consumers feel about brands is a proven driver of sales.

One  of the indicators  we use at BrandZ to determine how passionate people are about a brand are the words they use to describe the brand’s personality. Choosing  to describe  a brand as “rebellious”, “fun” or “creative” from a  medley  of adjectives  that  also  includes softer options such as “innocent”, “kind” and “friendly”,  for example,  is a clear indicator of the  greater  or lesser  passion  elicited  by the brand.

Our key measure also assesses whether a brand polarises consumers. The greater the BrandZ “clarity” score, the more a brand  divides opinions.   It  might   seem   counterintuitive, but polarisation is an important measure  of passion; after all, products  and services  that are all things to all people are generally bland and less distinctive:  an unhappy  position, as far as brands are concerned.

Four Areas of Passion
So   what   exactly   do   consumers   think about when they rate some brands more passionately than others? Our studies suggest that there are four key areas:

1. Adventurous/Rebellious
2. Desirable/Sexy
3. Playful/Fun
4. Creative

All four areas  are  active,  positive  actions that embrace powerful and passionate descriptors of relationships with brands. We know from experience  that there is a huge disparity   between   brands   in  the  degree to which these  words are mentioned. This shows  us  that  passion   is  not  something that is just casually given, but rather something that is earned by brands that are meaningfully   different  and  deserving   of such accolades.

As  a  recent  publication  of  Millward Brown Optimor’s Top 100 Global Brands shows, there are clear frontrunners in each of these four areas:

Adventurous/Rebellious: Red Bull, Nike, Apple
Desirable/Sexy: L’Oréal, BMW, Apple
Playful/Fun: Disney, Coca-Cola, Apple
Creative: Google, Intel, Apple

Passion  does not only result  in sales. The brands   that   are   the   most   passionately rated are also the ones that earn the most online buzz (which, in turn, feeds sales and brand value).

Is this connection   surprising? I think not. The social space is where we interact freely on matters  of interest, consequence or fun. Brands that participate in this space (without disrupting or interfering with the party) are engaging freely with willing audiences.

Finally,  a key learning  from our studies  is that low price does not buy passion. Instead, our data clearly shows that consumers with the greatest  passion for a brand name price as their least powerful influence. Only those lacking  a passionate relationship put price at the top.


1. A distinctive brand is more  likely  to attract consumer passion.

2. Passion adds value to a brand.

3. Building a single-minded brand promise entails understanding which passion to emphasise.

4. Tone of voice  is vital to underline passion  in an interesting way.

5. Media  selection not only  plays  a part in targeting relevant consumers,  but also  implies  the  character  and   passionate nature of the brand.

6. Brand relationships are built on personal experience.

7. Being true to yourself as a brand is essential to a passionate experience. A brand’s entire  value  chain  must  deliver on  this truth to ultimately affect customers.

8.Passionate  users  are  a  brand’s best  advocates  and  should be cultivated.

9. Do not worry about polarising your  audience – passion  is not about being all things to all people.

10. Think  about  the  brands that inspire your   own   passion   and consider what personal insights can be applied to your  brand.


BrandZ is the  world’s largest  brand database  of consumer opinion.  it includes interviews with  more   than   two  million consumers and   business-to-business customers in more  than 43 countries about thousands of brands. to learn  more please visit

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