If you watched the commercials on the Super Bowl this past Sunday it won’t come as a surprise that consumers desperately need greater levels of emotional engagement, if marketers want to – not just entertain – but actually sell products and build real brands. That fact was confirmed by findings from the Brand Keys 17th annual 2013 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI).
- Samsung (taking the #1 spot from Apple in Smartphones),
- Amazon (which took the #1 spot from Apple in Tablets) and kept its #1 ranking for its Kindle E-readers,
- Hyundai and Ford (tied for #1 in Automotive, with Ford moving up in a big way),
- Dunkin’ Donuts (in both Packaged and Out-of-Home Coffee Categories),
- Whole Foods (for Natural Food Stores, a whole new category this year),
- Clinique (for Luxury Cosmetics. See comment below headed “11 Categories No Longer are ‘Brands’” to find out what happened to Mass Merchandiser Cosmetics. And 10 other categories.),
- Subway (in Quick Serve, who served up enough emotional engagement to unseat McDonald’s (now #3), and
- Discover Card and Avis (#1 again this year).
11 Categories Are No Longer “Brands”
No, you read that subhead correctly. Perhaps it would be more accurate to characterize these categories as no longer being “brand-based,” with products and services that consumers used to view as ‘brands’ now regarded as comparable in all key attributes that drive purchase in their categories. Also, for the 11 categories, which turn out to be mostly CPG, the importance of brand decreased or disappeared altogether for the 1st time in the 17 years we’ve been doing this study.
Which is what happened to 11 categories where customer evaluations for products and services turned out to be statistically identical to one another. Names of products were, of course, known, but consumer choice is, for the most part, not driven by awareness. So it turned out that purely rational aspects ended up driving these categories. Things like – primacy of product (does it do what it says well enough that I don’t complain?), location (is it on the shelves where I shop?), is it selling at a good price (where’s my coupon?) – are “table stakes,” and do not drive emotional engagement or brand loyalty.
It’s Not Denial. Marketers Are Selective About the Reality They Accept
Connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.