While Apple, Amazon and Domino’s hung on to their top rankings in Brand Keys’ latest annual loyalty index, a shaken-up Top 100 shows that consumers are radically rethinking their relationship with brands.
For one thing, 12 news brands vaulted onto the list, the highest number in the survey’s 15-year history, says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of the New York-based loyalty consultancy.
The new brands are ChatGPT (#49), Delta (#60), Colgate (#64), Modelo Especial (#71), Kia (#76), Chevrolet (#88), Hogwarts Legacy (#91), NFL (#94), Macy’s (#95), Chick-fil-A (#96), Estée Lauder (#97) and Patagonia (#100).
The index is based on analyzing 1,650 brands in 145 categories, drawing on responses from some 74,000 consumers. The latest version shows how fast consumers can change brand preferences. Passikoff's favorite example this year? “Thanks to the 'Barbie’ movie and the way consumers emotionally engaged with the brand, Mattel bounced up 42 places this year, moving from #88 to #46,” he tells Marketing Daily.
Other significant gainers this year are Tito’s (+53), T.J. Maxx (+32), L’Oréal (+27) and American Express and Ford (both up +19.)
Conversely, thanks to the blundered rebranding of X, formerly known as Twitter, the social media platform sank from #47 to #92. Others losing loyalty are Spotify (-21), Old Navy (-16), Paramount+ (-15) and Whole Foods (-13).
Passikoff notes that this list confirms that consumers are long past any loyalty directly tied to the pandemic, which pushed them to try brands that became short-term favorites. “Zoom, pharmaceutical companies related to the COVID vaccine, Purell and Clorox all popped high early in the pandemic. They haven’t gone away. But they aren’t in the top 100 anymore. It’s an indication of how quickly perceptions can shift.”
Another case in point is ChatGPT, which burst on the scene in November 2022 and has already secured enough love to make it into the top 50. “We’re not giving people a list of brands and asking them to respond,” he says. “They are coming up with these names on their own.”
He says these shifts matter because of their ability to predict future consumer behavior and bottom-line movements: “Loyalty has always been a leading indicator in terms of positive behavior and profitability.”