A new study conducted by Brand Keys has found that, although consumers’ hopes regarding brands are increasing, the brands are unable to keep up. Data were derived from the 2015 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) study.
Research assigned each measured brand with a percentage score based on use of a proprietary, survey-based research method. The results indicated how well a brand met expectations against what MarketingCharts described as a “consumer-generated category-specific ideal.”
2015’s study looked at 64 categories and 540 brands and was based on a survey that included 36,605 brand customers 18 to 65 years of age from the nine United States Census Regions. Customers self-selected the categories in, and brands for, which they are customers. Of the participants, 70% were interviewed by telephone, 20% in person to identify and include cell phone-only households, and 5% were interviewed online, according to MarketingCharts.
Brand Keys indicates that its data provides a thorough representation of those category drivers that connect with customers, promote loyalty, and “drive real profits.” The so-called “Ideal” refers to “path-to-purchase drivers” and explains the way in which consumers view a category and compare, engage, purchase, and remain loyal with a brand. Drivers are specific to each category since purchasing practices differ by each category. The brand with the driver that most closely meets—or exceeds—those of the category ideal is the one in which customers will be most loyal toward, and with which they will express the deepest engagement, in the forthcoming 12-18 months.
For its study, Brand Keys utilized a independently validated research approach that collaborated emotional and rational category areas and also identified four behavioral drivers for the category-specific “Ideal,” while identifying values that create the components for every driver, MarketingCharts indicated. An example of drivers for the Smartphone category include:
- Brand Reputation & Design
- A Platform For All My Needs
- Features & Personal Connectivity
- Brand Value & Customer Support
According to Brand Keys, “The assessments measure how well brands meet consumer expectations for each driver that makes up the Ideal for a specific category. The research technique combines psychological inquiry with statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, with results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.”
Some of the category leaders follow, with percentages indicating how close a brand came to the ideal score in its category and with 2014’s results indicated in some areas; 2015’s report included Canadian consumer assessments for some categories, MarketingCharts noted. Unless noted, the category leaders remained constant from 2014’s results:
- Airline: Air Canada (85%), exceeding Jet Blue, the winner for 2014
- Automotive: Ford/Hyundai (93%), remaining unchanged from 2014
- Computer (laptops): Apple (96%)
- E-Readers: Kindle (97%)
- Instant Messaging Applications: WhatsApp (91%)
- Online Music: Pandora (90%)
- Online Payment Services: PayPal (91%)
- Online Retailers: Amazon (95%)
- Online Video Streaming: Netflix (89%), after tying with Amazon in 2014
- Search Engine: Google (86%)
- Smartphones: Apple (82%)
- Social Networking Sites: Facebook (75%), after tying with Twitter in 2014
- Tablets: Apple (92%), taking the sold lead after it split the lead with Amazon in 2014
- Wireless Phone Service: AT&T (85%)
MarktingCharts noted that Apple took the smartphone title from Samsung. Facebook also took the lead in social networking; however, the low Facebook score is indicative that social networking sites are experiencing challenges in meeting consumers’ expectations.
In 2014, the social networking category was not in the top five categories for key overall consumer expectations. According to MarketingCharts, In 2015, the top seven, with category drivers in which consumers hold their highest expectations are:
- App-based rideshare: My needs come first
- Athletic footwear: Personal innovation and performance optimization
- Luxury cosmetics: Nurturing/optimizing my appearance
- Headphones: My very personal experience
- Luxury hotels: Service I deserve
- Instant messaging apps: The ability to matter
- Smartphones: I can do anything from this phone
MarketingCharts; Consumers’ Expectations Continue to Grow. Which Brands Are Best at Meeting Them?; February 19, 2015.
BrandKeys; Customer Loyalty and Engagement Index.