Which Brands Are Doing Best At Meeting Their Customers’ Expectations?

January 31, 2017

Consumers continue to expect more from brands – but brands aren’t rising to the challenge, reports Brand Keys in its latest annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. The 22nd annual study looks at the key purchase drivers across various categories and sees how brands in those categories stack up to the ideal across those drivers.

As such, the 2017 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) study uses a proprietary survey-based research method to assign each measured brand a percentage score indicating the degree to which it meets expectations against a consumer-generated category-specific ideal. This year’s study covered 83 categories and 740 brands, and relies upon a survey of 49,168 brand customers aged 18 to 65.

Consumers’ brand engagement expectations were found to have increased the most for the Social Networking and Entertainment, Technology, and B2B: Services and Equipment categories.

Overall, leadership shifted in 49 of the 83 categories examined. The following is a brief selection of category leaders. The percentage figures define how close the brand is to an ideal score (100%) in its category.

  • Airline: JetBlue (83%), maintaining its lead from last year;
  • Automotive: Ford / Hyundai (91%), both also retaining their joint lead;
  • Computers: Apple (90%) – keeping on top again;
  • Instant Messages: Facebook Messenger (83%), taking over from last year’s leader, WhatsApp;
  • Online Music: Apple Music (81%), supplanting last year’s top brand, Pandora;
  • Online Payment: PayPal (85%), remaining on top;
  • Online Retailer: Amazon (94%), also retaining its lead;
  • Online Video: Netflix (89%), once again the category leader;
  • Search Engine: Google (92%), also retaining its leading status;
  • Smartphone: Apple (84%), remaining on top;
  • Social Networking Sites: Facebook (77%), keeping on top though with a relatively low score;
  • Tablets: Apple (88%), also maintaining its lead; and
  • Wireless Services: AT&T (90%).

Of note is that with the exception of Google and AT&T, all other categories leaders experienced a decline in engagement scores from last year’s study.

The full list of category leaders can be found here [pdf].

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

“For the 2016 survey, 42,792 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 top-20% customers. Seventy (70%) percent were interviewed by phone, 25% percent via face-to-face interviews (to identify and include cellphone-only households), and 5% online.

Brand Keys uses an independently validated research approach that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories. The research technique is a combination of psychological inquiry and statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, and provides results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.

The output identifies the four behavioral drivers for the category-specific ‘Ideal,’ and identifies the emotional and rational values (and their percent-contribution to engagement) that form the components of each driver. Drivers ”“ and their component values ”“ are category-specific since consumers don’t buy smartphones the same way they buy cosmetics or pizza. The engagement and loyalty assessments measure how well brands meet expectations that consumers hold for each driver that makes up the category-specific Ideal.”

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