Nearly half of the top ten brands in the US are internet search engines or apparel catalogues, with the most impressive gain being J. Crew which leaped nearly 100 places to 6th position, according to the 2007 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List.
According to Robert Passikoff, president for Brand Keys, although convenience has always been an important loyalty generator, this year the vagaries of the US economy and increases in fuel prices have meant consumers have turned to the internet and catalogues to help save money.
Google has moved from number 2 to number 1 in the list, and Yahoo has moved from number 5 to number 2. But almost as impressively, five clothing catalogues appear in the top 25 loyalty leaders, including L.L.Bean (4), J. Crew (6), Sears (14), Eddie Bauer (22) and Lands' End (24).
Along with these, other winners in the loyalty arena this year include Verizon ( 10, up from 54), Dunkin' Donuts (83, up from 159), and Kohl's (84, up from 134).
"Price-value is a powerful differentiator in categories where product or services are virtually the same," noted Passikoff. "A tougher economy just ratchets that up. For example, six HDTV brands are among the top-50 loyalty leaders, due largely to big price reductions."
The loyalty indicator
"Loyalty is still the best leading indicator of success," concluded Passikoff. "Brands must make sure that they understand the attributes and values that consumers will use as their theoretical yardstick to decide whether they'll be loyal to one brand or another. They also have to meaningfully engage and communicate with their target audiences."
Participants in the study were interviewed by telephone with 15% personal interviews among cell phone-only respondents. Respondents self-classified themselves as to the categories in which they are customers, and the brands to which they consider themselves loyal.