Loyal Consumers ID Their Favorite Brands

Feb 11, 2011

Brand loyalty lives. According to the 15th annual Brand
Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), a survey of 46,000 consumers
between 18 and 65, the top 10 overall brands were:

  1. Netflix
  2. Apple
  3. Walgreens
  4. Discover
  5. Hyundai
  6. Mary Kay
  7. McDonald’s
  8. J. Crew
  9. Samsung
  10. Nikon

Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, wrote in a blog, "Brand
value has increasingly been defined not through the narrow lens of price, but
in terms of the total experience of consumer-brand interaction. This year’s
results demonstrate that concept has truly taken hold, with virtually every category
showing its greatest increase in expectations in the purchase drivers centered
on attributes that most strongly impact the customers’ overall experience."

within various sales channels that were best at creating loyal shoppers included:

Specialty Apparel

  1. J. Crew
  2. Abercrombie & Fitch
  3. Victoria’s Secret
  4. H&M
  5. Aeropostale/PacSun (tie)
  6. Old Navy/Gap (tie)
  7. American Eagle Outfitters

Department Stores

  1. Dillard’s/Kohl’s (tie)
  2. Macy’s
  3. JCPenney
  4. T.J. Maxx
  5. Marshalls
  6. Sears

Mass Merchandisers

  1. Walmart
  2. Kmart
  3. Target


  1. Walgreens
  2. CVS
  3. Duane Reade
  4. Rite Aid

Home Improvement Stores

  1. Ace
  2. True Value
  3. Home Depot
  4. Lowe’s

Office Supply Stores

  1. Staples
  2. OfficeMax
  3. Office Depot

Warehouse Clubs

  1. Sam’s Club
  2. Costco
  3. BJ’s

Online Retailers

  1. Amazon
  2. Ebay
  3. Overstock.com/Zappos (tie)
  4. Buy.com

Movie Rentals

  1. Netflix
  2. Blockbuster
  3. Redbox
  4. DVDXpress

Coffee Chains

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts
  2. Starbucks
  3. McDonald’s
  4. Tim Hortons
  5. Krispy Kreme

Discussion Questions: Have the elements that create consumer brand loyalty changed? Do you see any shared attributes among the top companies/brands identified in Brand Key’s Customer Loyalty Engagement Index?

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4 Comments on "Loyal Consumers ID Their Favorite Brands"

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Dan Frechtling
11 years 3 months ago
Consumers have greater choice than ever in the channels they frequent, services they subscribe to, and, despite SKU-reduction initiatives, in the products they buy. Robert Passikoff notes winning brands share common factors of (1) innovation and (2) experience. 1. Innovation. Change in e-commerce has set standards for invention across product and service categories. 2. Experience. Attributes that delight, actions that mend service errors, or things just intuitively “work” stand out in the marketplace. Five winners I believe embody these traits are Hyundai in autos, Apple in computers, Ace in home improvement, Tom’s of Maine in toothpaste, and Netflix in movie rental. Interestingly, innovation has impacted categories followed by CLEI as well. Hello e-readers, goodbye online bookstores. Hello HDTVs, goodbye electronics stores. However, while CLEI paints a positive picture of loyalty trends using psychological assessments, the story is less optimistic when assessing behavior. The CMO Council has reported half of all high loyals left their “favorite” consumer products a year later. dunnhumby found 70% of product champions left or bought less of their favorite brand during… Read more »
Richard J. George, Ph.D.
11 years 3 months ago
Personally, I do not subscribe to the concept of “brand or store loyalty.” It is appropriate to be loyal to your family, church, country or alma mater but to be loyal to a seller makes no sense. You exchange money for products and services period. Any expectation of receiving more by the seller from you in terms of loyalty is irrational. On the other hand, I do subscribe to the concept of “continuity of purchase.” How do you continue your relationship with the customer? By exceeding expectations or as noted in one of the referenced articles, by delighting customers. One of my customer service books is titled, Delightful Customer Service: 12 Steps to A Better Bottom Line. Satisfaction is not enough to insure repeat business only delight will bring them back. Regarding the criteria for delight, I agree that it is more than price. In fact the classic definition of value, namely, quality divided by price no longer captures the essence of value between buyers and sellers. I subscribe to the definition of benefits received… Read more »
Ted Hurlbut
Ted Hurlbut
11 years 3 months ago

After reading through the results, and going to CLEI’s website to learn more about their methodology, I’m still not sure what we’re looking at here, but I question whether it’s really brand loyalty.

While some of the results make sense to me, others I find a bit curious. Are we really measuring marketing impressions in some cases. Are we measuring market share in others? Maybe the real questions are whether brand loyalty isn’t really another way of talking about market share, and that marketing impressions can have a significant impact on market share.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 3 months ago

I’m backing up Ted Hurlbut on this one. Some of these “results” just don’t make sense, and I could find no comfort in the study’s missing methodology. My whiskey-tango-foxtrot meter pegged out several times regarding top choices. Hundai? Really? Mary Kay? Discover Card? NBC Evening News (ratings don’t reflect this)? And then there are so-called popular brands I’ve never even heard of: Aveda hair conditioner, Tom’s Of Maine toothpaste, Tim Hortons coffee, Rimmel cosmetics. On the Tim Hortons site, when I click on California locations, the nearest listed are in Maine, Michigan, NY, and Rhode Island. Clear evidence that this research is seriously skewed geographically. Are there other ways in which it’s skewed?

The exercise of trying to discover what consumers mean by “brand” is futile. Their definitions change day-to-day and minute-to-minute. Just like their definitions of “value.” I would treasure a valid study about brands, but this one does not qualify.


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