New Report Measures Gap Between Brands Talking The Talk, Walking The Walk

Global Marketing strategy and business transformation consultant Clear (part of M&C Saatchi) is out with its inaugural “Experience Gap” survey that ranks 225 brands based on how well their promises and advertising align with real-world consumer experience. 

Some of the results are shocking.

Southwest Airlines, for example, made it into the top 10 (U.S.), far ahead of any other airline. This is the same Southwest Airlines on which a woman was tragically killed after being sucked out of a plane window after an engine blew up during a flight earlier this year. 

According to the study, Southwest scored so well because its loyalty programs are highly regarded. (I could crack wise here — the possibilities are infinite — but out of respect for the aforementioned tragically killed woman, I won’t.)

Booze and beer brands did surprisingly well in the U.S. 

In fact, Jim Beam was ranked No. 1 — which means it had the smallest gap between promises made and promises kept, based on consumer experience per the study. Beam apparently brought its craft-driven brand story to life in an appealing way. 



Absolut Vodka, Jack Daniel’s, Miller, Bacardi also made it into the top 10. 

In the increasingly competitive streaming world, Netflix was tops -- and number 11 in the U.S. overall. Amazon came in it at 26 and Hulu was 46.

Tech brands didn’t fare well generally, given all the negative press about privacy and security breaches. And Chinese tech brands in particular fared poorly, given recent FBI warnings not to not use Chinese-made mobile devices. (Huawei was dead last.)

No tech brands cracked the top-10. Google was highest ranked at 16, followed by Samsung at 22. 

The research is based on an online survey of more than 34,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Germany and China. 

Over half of those polled say they never accept any brand promise at face value, while about one-third said the gap between promises made and real-world experience is widening. 

One-fifth said they have switched brands in the past year as a result of the gap. Clear estimates that revenues lost as a result of the experience gap ranges from hundreds of millions to over $1 billion, depending on the company. 

It's an interesting read. The full report can be accessed here.

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