Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The 2016 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List

Digital Brands and Online Access Define Loyalty For Consumers

Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook and YouTube Lead

NEW YORK, NY October 19, 2016 - More than a third (35%) of the 2016 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List is represented by digital technology, social networking brands, or brands that facilitate digital tech or social networking was the key finding in the 20th annual survey conducted by Brand Keys, Inc., the New York-based brand and customer loyalty and engagement research consultancy. The shifts in loyalty leadership have been monumental this year," said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

“Digital brands represent the lion’s share of this year’s list, also commanding the most spots among the top-20 loyalty leaders, accounting for 80% of that portion of this year’s Loyalty Leaders,” noted Passikoff, “With some digital brands showing up as Loyalty Leaders in multiple categories.”

Digital Brands Work Harder For Loyalty
“It appears that digital brands work harder and create higher levels of emotional engagement – the ability for a brand to be seen as meeting consumers’ expectations for their Ideal, in whatever category the brand competes. Today emotional engagement is the predictive, real-world yardstick for loyalty, market share, and profitability,” said Passikoff. “Want to know what consumers are going to do? Measure real loyalty and emotional engagement and you can know for sure.”

2016 Top Digital Loyalty Leaders
Numbers in parentheses represent rankings among the top 100 Loyalty Leaders.

1. Google (search, #1)
2. Apple (tablets, #3)
3. Netflix (streaming video, #4)
4. Facebook (social networking, #5)
5. Apple (smartphones, #6)
6. Amazon (tablets, #7)
7. YouTube (social networking #8)
8. WhatsApp (social networking, #10)
9. iTunes (video streaming, #11)
10. PayPal (online payments, #12)
11. Samsung (smartphones, #14)
12. LinkedIn (social networking, #19)
13. Twitter (social networking, #23)
14. Instagram (social networking, #27)
15. Apple (computers, #29)
16. Kindle (e-readers, #30)
17. LG (smartphones, #31)
18. Acer (tablets, #32
19. iTunes (online music, #34)
20. Samsung (computers, #41)
21. Hulu (video streaming, #46)
22. HBO GO (streaming video, #63)
23. Line (social networking, #72)
24. iMessage (instant messaging, #74)
25. AT&T Wireless (wireless, #75)
26. theSkimm (messaging, #76)
27. Google Play (online music, #80)
28. Google Wallet (online payments, #80)
29. Google+ (social networking, #86)
30. Verizon (wireless, #88)
31. Pinterest (social networking, #89)
32. Spotify (online music, #90)
33. Microsoft (computers, #91)
34. BuzzFeed (social networking, #95)
35. Tumblr (social networking, #98)

This year Brand Keys examined 635 brands in 72 categories. Digital was represented by fifteen categories and 140 brands so there’s tremendous competition for the top 100 rankings. “Digital has become the defining category for consumer outreach and emotional engagement,” noted Passikoff. “And it shows up by the names on this year’s list.”

Category Loyalty Leaders. Digital and. . .
Digital technology, social networking brands, and brands that facilitate digital technologies and social networking had the most Loyalty Leader brands, and represented 35% of this year’s list. But other categories were well-represented by Loyalty Leader brands, and included:

 Retail: 17%
 Beverages: 9%
 Automotive: 8%
 Cosmetics: 8%
 Financial: 6%
 Restaurants: 6%
 Travel: 4%

Changes in Digital Loyalty
Loyalty and emotional engagement are leading-indicators of consumer behavior toward a brand. Axiomatically, the better consumers behave toward a brand, the better the brand does in the marketplace, which ultimately shows up on brands’ bottom lines. This year, among digital brands the greatest loyalty gains among consumers was for LG (+15 to #31). Google moved up 5 places to this year’s #1 spot and Amazon moved up 6 spots to the #2 ranking. In the smartphone category, Apple was down 6 places from the #2 rank last year to end up this year’s #7 Loyalty Leader.

The bottom line is, no matter the category, the brands that understand that real emotional connections serve as surrogates for added value have succeeded again. “And brands that have made loyalty and emotional engagement a strategic priority” noted Passikoff, “always show up high on the Loyalty Leaders list and always appear at the top of consumers’ shopping lists.”

Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders analysis was conducted in September 2016 and includes assessments from 42,792 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are customers. Seventy-five percent (75%) were interviewed by phone, 20% via face-to-face interviews (to account for cell phone-only consumers), and remaining consumers assessed categories and brands online. The 2016 Loyalty Leader assessments examined 72 categories and 635 brands.

Unlike economic use models, which rely heavily on historical data and profitability conjecture, the Brand Keys Loyalty and Engagement Model and rankings are 100% consumer-driven, and are predictive, leading-indicators of brand and corporate profitability. “The good news is that brand loyalty is understandable. The better news is, it can be quantified and predicted,” said Passikoff. “And, today, knowing what’s coming down the road from a category and competitive perspective is an extraordinarily powerful advantage that brands should'n’t really pass up.”

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