Here are a couple of brand absolutes:
1.) Loyalty is absolutely driven by emotion.
2.) Consumers are looking for emotional connections -- more than ever before.
This year, the list of top-50 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders consists of eights categories. Cosmetics and moisturizers account for 30 percent of the brands; technology brands -- primarily smart phone and cell phone brands -- account for 26 percent of that list, and these two categories together account for nearly 60 percent of the brands with the most loyal customers.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be, not when you consider that the "emotional engagement" women share with beauty brands is powerful, and consumers take few things more personally than the technology that keeps them connected.
Sixteen percent of the top-50 Loyalty Leaders represented retailers (bricks, clicks, and catalog), and 12 percent of the brands were alcoholic beverages, principally vodka, with only one beer brand in the top-50 ranking. On the other side of the bar, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s coffees were the only other beverage brands to make the rankings.
Of the 501 brands in 70 categories on this year’s list, here are the 10 brands with the most loyal customers:
1.) Apple iPhone
2.) Samsung cell phones
4.) Grey Goose
5.) Apple Computers
8.) J. Crew
Who had the greatest gains in loyalty this year? Progressive Insurance (+78), Avon (+53), and Domino’s Pizza (+38). Who showed the greatest losses in loyalty? Palm (-407), Tylenol Allergy (-199), and BP (-326).
For the complete ranking of the 501 brands, click here.
Some brands have, of course, suffered loyalty losses because of the economy. Brands that understand how real emotional connections serve as a surrogate for added value will create stronger loyalty bonds no matter what the economy is like.
The good news: Unlike economic use models, which rely heavily on historical data and profitability conjecture, the Brand Keys Loyalty Model and rankings are 100 percent consumer-driven and are predictive leading-indicators of corporate profitability and are eminently understandable.
The better news: Real customer loyalty can be quantified and predicted, and in these economic times, knowing what makes loyalty happen gives a brand an extraordinarily powerful advantage.