The 10 Brands Most Disappointing to Their Customers

BrandKeys-10-Least-Engaging-Brands-of-2016-May2016Brands such as Apple and Netflix continue to lead their respective categories in emotional engagement, per recently-released research from Brand Keys. Now the firm has issued its annual list of the least engaging brands [pdf]; those that “substantively disappointed their own customers.”

Topping the list, if that’s the right word, is Volkswagen, with an emotional engagement score of just 29% against the category ideal of 100%. The auto brand’s emissions scandal has certainly had an effect on its brand perception: earlier research has shown that Volkswagen dealers have experienced the biggest decline in customer experience ratings this year of any brand, while also seeing the largest drop in reputation of any brand, by a wide margin.

Blackberry hasn’t fared much better this year, with its emotional engagement strength at just 30% of the category ideal. (The smartphone category leader, Apple, has an emotional engagement strength of 87%.) This is the third consecutive year that Blackberry has appeared on the list: it was the worst-rated last year (25%) and the year earlier.

Other brands to make the list again this year are kobo, Sears and Budweiser. New brands on this year’s list include Whole Foods, which was recently embroiled in its own scandal that saw its customer satisfaction ratings plummet, Sports Authority, and Aéropostale, the latter two having recently entered into bankruptcy proceedings.

About the Data: Brand Keys says that for its the 2016 survey, 42,792 consumers, ages 18 to 65, from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the brands for which they were customers. Seventy (70%) percent were interviewed by phone, 25% percent via face-to-face interviews (to include cellphone-only households), and 5% online. This year the survey examined 72 categories and 635 brands.