Brand Keys' new, 2011 Customer Loyalty Leaders Index shows Amazon having displaced Apple's iPhone in the #1 spot.
2011 Top 10 Loyalty Leaders
"Brand loyalty has always been primarily driven by emotion," points out Brand Keys founder and President Robert Passikoff, adding that this year's rankings again demonstrate that "consumers seek to emotionally connect with brands that actually stand for something, and to connect with each other, too."
Other highlights from this year's results, based on Brand Keys' tracking of 528 total brands across 79 categories, via surveying of consumers who have identified themselves as buyers of products within the categories:
Beyond Mary Kay at #10 (up 10 positions vs. 2010), cosmetics leaders include Maybelline (#14, up two); Estee Lauder (#27, down eight); Clinique (#34, down 12); Avon (#36, down nine); L'Oreal (#37, down five); Max Factor (#40, up 12) and Cover Girl (#47, unchanged). Lancome is the leader both in luxury cosmetics (#31, down three), and the luxury facial moisturizers (#48, down seven).
Leaders in other beauty categories: teeth whiteners, Crest Whitestrips (#11, new to list); hair color, L'Oreal (#18, up 13); facial moisturizers, Mary Kay (#28, down eight); skin moisturizers, Eucerin (#46, down 23); shampoos, Suave (#72, new to list, and the only shampoo in the top 100).
Tech brands with multiple products making the rankings include Samsung (computers at #44, smartphones at #57, HDTV at #80, in addition to cell phones at #4) and Apple (computers at #5, as well as the iPhone smartphone at #2).
Kindle rules among e-readers (#8, new to list, vs. #52 Nook, also new to list); and Google rules among search engines (#16, up five, vs. runner-up Bing at #30, down 15).
AT&T and Verizon are the only wireless providers in the top 100, respectively at #79 (up 32) and #93 (down 14).
In addition to Amazon, retailers in the top 50 include online retailer Zappos (#6, new to the list); Wal-Mart (#13, down 10 positions vs. 2010), J. Crew (#21, down eight); Target (#33, down seven); Sam's Club (#38, down nine), Kohl's (#44, unchanged) and BJ's (#50, down seven).
Toyota dropped to #59 from #37, but given its recalls and the effects of Japan's tsunami and the economy, it could have been significantly worse, observes Passikoff. The brand's strong historic loyalty performance came into play in the form of the "Loyalty Rule of Six" (loyal consumers are six times more likely to give a brand the benefit of the doubt in uncertain circumstances), he says.
The third automotive brand in the top 100, as noted, is Ford, with its 237-position leap to #86.
Dunkin' Donuts again won the coffee battle -- up two positions, to #12. Second-place McDonald's coffee lost eight positions, to rank #26. As noted, Starbucks coffee leaped 352 positions, but at #100, is still a distant third in loyalty terms.
Frosted Flakes is the highest-ranking kids' breakfast cereal (#35, down 11), followed by Lucky Charms (#67, unchanged) and Wheaties (#82, down four). Among adult cereals, Cheerios (#77, unchanged) and Special K (#83, up 13) made the top 100.
Two QSRs made the top 100: Domino's Pizza (#89, up 29) edged out McDonald's (#90, up 19).
The Brand Keys index rankings are based on interviews of adults 18 to 65, drawn from the nine U.S. Census regions, self-selected for the categories in which they are consumers. Seventy-five percent were interviewed by phone, 20% face-to-face, and the remainder online. According to Brand Keys, the model and rankings are 100% consumer-driven and are independently validated, predictive leading indicators of brand and corporate profitability.