The Lounge

iPhones, Grey Goose, Wal-Mart, and Mary Kay!

iPhones, Grey Goose, Wal-Mart, and Mary Kay!

What do iPhones, Grey Goose, Wal-Mart, and Mary Kay have in common?

Each was one of the top-10 brands in this year’s Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List. This year we rated 63 categories and 440 brands, so who else was among the top-10? Rankings were as follows:

iPhone
Samsung
Google
Blackberry
Wal-Mart
Grey Goose
Mary Kay
AVIS
Apple
Amazon.com

Customer values intrinsic to technology brands were seen to best meet, and even exceed, customer expectations, and the ’emotional engagement’ that women share with their favorite beauty brands is still very powerful. But for a more in-depth look at this year’s results (and a list of the top-25 brands with the most loyalty customers) we invite you to read Kenneth Hein’s Brandweek coverage, “Dial ‘L’ for Loyalty.”

More important than “satisfaction,” and infinitely more important than “awareness,” loyalty is a leading-indicator of consumer behavior and, thus, predictive of brand profitability. It’s become more and more important, especially these days when many products and services are turning into commoditized category placeholders. And loyalty isn’t static or managed via points, as witnessed by this year’s big loyalty swings.

In the Automotive category, Hyundai moved up from 295th on last year’s list to 24th – an increase in loyalty due to improved product quality, and it’s emotionally resonating ‘Assurance’ campaign: their one-year promise to buy back cars from any customer who became unemployed.

McDonald’s perked up loyalty and profits with an enormous increase in the Coffee category, moving from 156th last year to 16th, mostly to Starbucks detriment. Starbucks, already feeling the pain of customer disloyalty, ranked 191st last year and now ranks 428th, in the bottom dozen brands – a move that correlates highly with decreases in their same-store sales and profitability.

Some segments have, of course, suffered because of the economy, but brands that understand that the old ‘price-value’ equation has been transformed to a instantaneous ‘value-for-dollar’ consumer calculation, will have also realized that the brand can have meaning and can act as a surrogate for value, thus buttressing loyalty.

For a list of complete 2009 rankings – who got it right and who still can’t figure it out – we invite you to visit http://www.brandkeys.com/awards/leaders.cfm

Which national brand ranked last? Much to the dismay of the bailer-outers of our great nation, General Motors clearly didn’t get that memo and was ranked 439th (down this year from 363rd). GM might want to start with doing more than investing in a big string section in their advertising, and doing some value-based and meaningful branding.

Because when it comes to engendering loyalty, that’s what sets us apart from other life forms – or at least the ones with driver’s licenses.

Brand Keys, Inc. partner of
Brand Lounge in the Middle East

iphone

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