Consumers expectations for social, emotional, and electronic connections turned brands like Apple, Amazon, Samsung, YouTube, and Twitter into the big leaders on the 2012 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List.
It’s our 16th year assessing loyalty leaders, and it’s the first time we’ve seen such a seismic shift in terms of new categories and brands making their appearance in the top-100. Brand loyalty has always been primarily driven by emotional engagement, and this year’s rankings make it crystal clear that connection is everything. And with 598 brands in 83 categories for consumers to rate, there’s a lot of competition for the top 100 spots. This year certain categories rose to the top because of the high levels of engagement that consumers showed and what the brands were able to deliver – emotionally and rationally – versus the expectations consumers hold for their category Ideal.
Twenty-one new brands showed up on the 2012 list. Most of those new arrivals accounted for brands and sectors that, it turns out, facilitate social outreach: tablets, smartphones, and social networks. This year’s top-10 loyalty leaders ranking looks like this:
- Apple: tablets
- Amazon: tablets
- Apple: smartphone
- Amazon: online retail
- Apple: computer
- Samsung: tablet
- Call of Duty: major league gaming
- Samsung: cellphone
- Halo: major league gaming
- Twitter: social networks
For the complete listing of this year’s top-100 Loyalty Leaders, please click here.
The brands that showed the greatest loyalty gains this year were:
- Sephora (+60)
- Starbucks (+55)
- Ford (+47)
- Samsung smartphones (+30)
- Costco (+24)
Brands that saw the greatest erosion included:
- Netflix (-69)
- Bing (-60)
- Blackberry (-40)
- B.J.’s Price Club (-31)
- Flickr (-29)
It’s true that some brands suffered losses because of the economy and consumers shifted to less expensive brands that still held some degree of meaning. But some of the shifts are due to the creation and adoption of new categories that help to better meet – or even exceed – customer expectations.
But whether related to fiscal or technological innovation, brands that understand that real emotional connections can serve as a surrogate for added-value will always top the list.
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