Customer Loyalty Index identifies top US brands

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 17, 2011

Customer Loyalty Index identifies top US brands

Customers' brand experiences have reached new heights as consumers search for real innovation in the products and services they buy, according to the results of the 2011 Customer Loyalty Index study by Brand Keys.

The index report, entitled 'Decade of Delight', identified the key expectation of today's consumers, and found that attributes relating to experience and authentic innovation in products and services are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making, category-expectations, and brand engagement.

While expectation levels for delight vary by product category, brands that were among the top ten at creating customer delight are:

  1. Netflix;
  2. Apple;
  3. Walgreens;
  4. Discover;
  5. Hyundai;
  6. Mary Kay;
  7. McDonald's;
  8. J. Crew;
  9. Samsung;
  10. Nikon.

"This evolution has been accelerating for some time. Brand value has increasingly been defined not through the narrow lens of price, but in terms of the total experience that consumers have when they interact with a given brand. This year's results demonstrate that concept has truly taken hold, with virtually every category (93%) showing its greatest increase in expectations in the purchase drivers centred on attributes that most strongly impact the customers' overall experience," said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

"The CLEI data is predictive of coming shifts in the consumer marketplace - 12 to 18 months before it shows up in traditional research. Given the levels of commoditization we've witnessed in product/service delivery and pricing/promotion strategies it is no surprise consumers are looking for their favourite brands to make a real difference - to delight them - in their lives. Consumers know the brands, know what they do, and know what they're willing to pay for them," said Passikoff. "They're looking for delight and the category purchase drivers are very clear in this regard."

Innovation is key, whether it's innovation in the products themselves, or innovation in how those products are put into the hands of consumers - from rapid delivery to product introductions - and the after-life of service and support that the consumer experiences. And consumers want meaningful innovation that results in a higher level of experience. "Satisfaction has never been more cost-of-entry; delight is the new differentiator," said Passikoff.

Evolving consumer expectations transform categories, and this year category characteristics that contribute to the consumers' skyrocketing desire for experience and authentic innovation are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making and profitable engagement with the brand. Brands able to meet - even exceed - these expectations become category leaders.

Brands that received the highest loyalty and engagement assessments for 2011, "delighting" their customers more than their competition, were:

  • Airlines: Delta and Southwest
  • Allergy Medicine (OTC): Claritin
  • Athletic Footwear: Asics
  • Automotive: Hyundai
  • Banks: Wells Fargo
  • Beer (Light): Coors Light
  • Beer (Regular): Sam Adams and Coors
  • Bottled Water (Regular) Aquafina
  • Breakfast Cereal (Adult): Cheerios
  • Breakfast Cereal (Children): Frosted Flakes
  • Car Insurance: Progressive
  • Casual Dining: Olive Garden
  • Cell Phone: Samsung
  • Coffee: Dunkin' Donuts
  • Computer (Laptop): Apple
  • Computer (Netbook): Acer/Samsung
  • Cosmetics: Mary Kay
  • Cosmetics (Luxury): Lancome
  • Credit Card: Discover
  • Diapers: Pampers
  • Digital SLR Camera: Nikon
  • Digital Point-and-Shoot Camera: Canon
  • Drug Stores: Walgreens
  • DVD Player: Pioneer
  • Energy Provider (Chicago): Exelon
  • Energy Provider (Houston): HPL
  • Energy Provider (Los Angeles): Southern California Gas
  • Energy Provider (New York): PSEG
  • E-Readers: Kindle
  • Evening News Show: NBC
  • Facial Moisturizer: Mary Kay
  • Facial Moisturizer (Luxury): Elizabeth Arden
  • Gasoline: Chevron
  • Hair Color: Clairol and L'Oreal
  • Hair Conditioners: Aveda
  • Hair Shampoo: Suave
  • HDTV (LCD): Sony
  • HDTV (Plasma) Samsung
  • Hotel (Luxury): Inter-Continental
  • Hotel (Upscale): Marriott
  • Hotel (Mid-Scale): Best Western
  • Hotel (Economy): Days Inn
  • Insurance Company: New York Life
  • IT Solutions Provider: IBM
  • Laundry Detergent: Tide
  • Major Sports League: National Football League
  • MFP Office Copier: Konica Minolta
  • Morning News Show: Today (NBC)
  • Movie Rentals: Netflix
  • Mutual Fund: Janus
  • Online Brokerage: OptionsXpress and Scottrade.com
  • Online Retailer: Amazon.com
  • Online Travel: Expedia
  • Pain Reliever (OTC): Advil
  • Paper Towels: Brawny
  • Parcel Delivery: UPS
  • Pasta Sauce: Barilla
  • Pet Food - Canned (Cats): Purina
  • Pet Food - Canned (Dogs): Purina One
  • Pizza: Domino's
  • Printers: HP
  • Quick-Serve Restaurant: McDonald's
  • Rental Car: Avis
  • Retail Price Club: Sam's Club
  • Retail (Apparel): J. Crew
  • Retail (Discount): Wal-Mart
  • Retail (Department Store): Dillard's and Kohl's
  • Retail (Office Supply): Staples
  • Retail (Home Improvement): Ace
  • Search Engine: Google
  • Smartphone: Apple
  • Social Networking Sites: Facebook
  • Soft Drink (Diet): Diet Pepsi
  • Soft Drink (Regular): Pepsi
  • Tequila: Patron
  • Toothpaste: Crest and Tom's of Maine
  • Tooth Whiteners: Crest Whitestrips
  • Vodka: Ketel One
  • Wireless Phone Service: AT&T Wireless.

"At a time when brands are struggling to differentiate themselves from their competition and to find ways to profitably engage their customers, the changes this year serve as a real benchmark for marketers. Products and services that respond with a truly consumer-centric view of their category - delighting the customer - based on predictive loyalty metrics, stand to gain the most, and establish themselves as this decade's brand leaders," concluded Passikoff.

The complete listing of the 79 category rankings has been made available via the Brand Keys web site - click here.

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