Given how fast brands can soar to billion-dollar valuations or crash within a few news cycles, length of loyalty isn’t a metric that gets much attention.
But Brand Keys, a customer loyalty research company, just introduced its Loyalty Hall of Fame, with a crop of all-stars that have dominated their categories since, well, before smartphones.
Discover led the way with an astonishing 25 years of loyalty leadership in its category, powered by its constant commitment to reassurance. Next comes Avis (23 years atop the car rental category, Google (22 years ruling search engines) and Netflix (20 years). Domino’s, Dunkin’, Hyundai and Konica Minolta have all aced their territory for more than 15 years.
“The 25th anniversary of the CLEI seemed an appropriate time to recognize brands consumers have consecutively rated #1 when it comes to loyalty,” says Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, in the announcement.
He calls these long reigns “a testament to these brands’ abilities to meet their customers’ expectations and generate emotional engagement over sustained periods.”
Winners of this year’s loyalty list continue to substantiate Passikoff’s conviction that consumers increasingly do more buying with their hearts than with their heads, especially when it comes to retail brands.
Retail loyalty leaders for the year include Uniqlo, Amazon, Nike, TJ Maxx, Home Depot, Jordan and Dick’s.
The analysis finds that consumers put far more stock in emotional values, which Passikoff says represent some additional meaning for the customer beyond basic product function.
Brand Keys says that when it began calculating these measures back in 1997, the ratio for retailers was 80:20, favoring those emotional factors. That’s now shifted to 82:18. When consumers do consider rational aspects, “primacy-of-product” and “price-of-entry” are valued most.
Recent upheaval in the retail landscape, dominated by an overwhelming increase in digital purchases, have made loyalty more valuable. When companies increase brand loyalty, “customers are six times more likely to engage with you, buy you, and buy you again,” and also tend to be more attentive to marketing and advertising from favorite brands.
“And in light of the COVID pandemic, perhaps most importantly, consumers are six times more likely to give brands the benefit of the doubt in uncertain circumstances, including product shortages, supply-chain SNAFUs and even price increases,” adds Passikoff.
This year’s annual survey adds 88,126 consumer interviews to its predictive brand loyalty tracking metrics, which now includes 4.3 million customer assessments.