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BrandKeys-10-Least-Engaging-Brands-of-2015-Mar2015Brands are failing to keep pace with consumers’ growing expectations, according to a recent Brand Keys study. The initial release of study results revealed the brands measuring up best against their respective category ideals, with brands such as Apple and Netflix topping their lists. Now, Brand Keys has released its list of the brands that are faring the worst on this measure.

As part of its study, which was based on a proprietary survey-based method, Brand Keys assigned a percentage score to 540 brands across 64 categories. A brand’s engagement score is the degree to which it meets expectations against a consumer-generated category-specific ideal. That ideal is itself based on path-to-purchase drivers that are distinct for each category. By ranking brands against their category ideals, the study is able to then generate cross-category rankings.

And that’s what Brand Keys has done in this latest release, identifying the brands that performed worst in their respective categories and then measuring which had the 10 lowest brand engagement scores.

Without further ado, the 10 brands with the most work ahead of them are:

  • BlackBerry (25%);
  • Radio Shack (34%);
  • Blockbuster On Demand (37%);
  • Kobo (40%);
  • Sears (42%);
  • Tylenol (46%);
  • McDonald’s (49%);
  • Abercrombie & Fitch (50%);
  • Coty Cosmetics (53%); and
  • Budweiser (58%).

Three of those brands – Blackberry, Sears, and Coty Cosmetics – were also on last year’s list of least engaging brands. Each has a lower engagement score this year than last, with Blackberry at the bottom of the charts again. Indeed, Blackberry’s engagement score of 25% distantly trails Apple’s leading score of 82% in the smartphone category.

The latest figures from comScore show that Blackberry had just 1.8% share of the smartphone OEM market during the 3-month period ending in January 2015, while Apple captured 41.3% share.

About the Data: Brand Keys describes its methodology as follows:

“For the 2015 survey, 36,605 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the brands for which they are customers. Seventy (70%) percent were interviewed by phone, twenty-five (25%) percent via face-to-face interviews (to identify and include cell phone-only households), and 5% online. This year certain categories included Canadian consumer assessments.

Brand Keys uses an independently validated research approach that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories, identifies the four behavioral drivers for the category-specific “Ideal,” and identifies the values that form the components of each driver.

The Ideal describes the precise path-to-purchase drivers, describing how the consumer will view the category, compare brands and how they will engage with the brand, buy, and remain loyal. The four drivers, for example, for the Smartphone category have been identified as: 1) Brand Reputation & Design, 2) A Platform For All My Needs, 3) Features & Personal Connectivity, and 4) Brand Value & Customer Support. Drivers are category-specific since consumers don’t buy smartphones in the same way they buy cosmetics or pizza.

The assessments measure how well brands meet consumer expectations for each driver that makes up the Ideal for a specific category. The research technique combines psychological inquiry with statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, with results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.”

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