Cadbury Dairy Milk maintains the position of Ireland’s most emotionally connected brand in 2023, extending its lead over competitor brands. The brand now has a net positive emotional connection of +72, some 13 points ahead of the nearest competitor.

Tayto holds steady in 2nd position with a score of +59, while Lidl improves its position gaining a place to become Ireland’s 3rd most emotionally connected brand with a score of +57. An Post lands in 4th, up +2 on last year.

A strong performance from Dunnes sees them up +13, cracking the top 10 brands for the first time. Brennans, a new entry, debuts in 5th position, while consumables brands Magnum, Twix & Digestives all see improvements to secure top 10 positions. Home Store + More hangs in the top 10 brands despite a marginal decline, down -1 vs 2022.

While the industry may like to think that consumers think long and hard about every brand choice, the evidence suggests this simply is not the case. Instead, people tend to make fast “good enough” brand choices based on mental shortcuts.

Behavioural and marketing scientists like Gerd Gigerenzer and the Ehernberg Bass Institute have done extensive work in this area to prove time and time again that a brand that is (mentally + physically) available, easily recognised and evokes positive emotional feelings is more likely to be chosen vs. one that is not. To deliver a successful brand, it is imperative to get these right.

RED C’s Brand Reaction Index uses facial expressions as shortcuts for emotions. We show a series of faces and then show a random selection of brands one at a time. Each time a brand is shown we ask consumers to choose as quickly as possible the emotion that they feel when they see that brand.

In June 2023, we completed our third national BRI test in Ireland to identify Ireland’s Top 100 Emotionally Connected Brands. Today’s results showcase the third year of measuring emotional connection of brands among Irish consumers, so we can see who is the most and least emotionally connected, how that connection has changed over time, and how brands compare against competitors within their categories.

Outside the top ten brands detailed earlier, we do see some overall trends in emotional connection this year.

Grocery brands dominate the overall top 10 brands with 6 grocery brands in the list. Cadbury Dairy Milk reclaims the title of Ireland’s most emotionally connected brand. Tayto remains in 2nd at both a sector specific and overall level while consumables brands Magnum, Twix and Digestives all seeing notable improvements securing them top 10 positions. Drinks brands Coca Cola, Lucozade and Club Orange all make notable gains as well.

Supermarket brands also continue to have a strong positive emotional connection overall with Irish consumers. Lidl comes out as the most emotionally connected supermarket, landing in 3rd position overall. Dunnes and SuperValu make solid gains, with Dunnes breaking into the top ten, while SuperValu also experiences a healthy uplift of +13 bringing them back into the top 50.

Airports & aviation brands re-establish more positive emotional connections with consumers after challenges posed by COVID-19 in 2022. Dublin Airport shows a strong recovery being this year’s brand with the biggest increase vs 2022, up +44 and moving comfortably back into the top 100 brands at 85th. Ryanair also see big gains with an increase of +25, which sees them in positive territory for the first time, while Aer Lingus also gains +8 to see them just outside the top ten.

In the entertainment space, Netflix triumphs. However, Spotify is now hot their heels in 2nd position with the music streaming brand up +9 vs last year. Channel 4 & Disney+ slip down the ranks, down -7 and -4 respectively. Unlike British Broadcaster BBC, who dip -2 vs last year, Irish broadcasters TG4 and RTÉ see strong growth. However, fieldwork for this research predates the recent headlines featuring RTÉ.

A number of Insurance brands see gains vs. 2022, but Irish Life continues to reign supreme despite slipping back marginally on last year. Aviva, AXA, Zurich and Allianz all make significant gains on last year, now coming in just behind Irish Life. Liberty, albeit further down the list of insurance brands, also experience similar levels of growth, while health insurance brands suffer with VHI down -12.

Social media and gaming brands have the poorest overall emotional connection with consumers. Both Boylesports and PaddyPower BRI scores remain starkly in the negative and land them both in the bottom 10 brands at an overall level. Instagram remains the only brand to foster somewhat positive emotional connections with consumers. While both Facebook and TikTok garner markedly negative BRI scores.

So, is this just a bit of fun or does it really matter? Our work suggests it is vitally important as one of the key shortcuts to deliver brand choice. The higher the BRI score, the more likely a brand is to be chosen vs. competitors (assuming of course that the other two properties of being available and easily recognised are also true).

If you want to find out more about your brand and its context with competitors, download the full report below and get in touch to find out more

RED C Brand Reaction Index 2023 Full Report