Corporate Eye

Brands with the Most Loyal Customers in 2015

shirt shoppingBrand Keys has released its annual ranking of the brands with the most loyal customers. This year’s ranking includes 64 categories and 540 brands that were self-identified by over 36,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 65.

Overall, the 2015 ranking includes 36 new brands, which means consumers are actively looking for brand replacements in many categories. Some new brands that made it on the list for the first time this year include Under Armour, Reddit, Lyft, and Microsoft Surface. One of these debut brands ranked first in its category—Air Canada.

Other brands that have been on the list in the past but took the top spot in their categories for the first time in 2015 include Facebook, Chipotle, Exxon Mobile, Travelocity, Nationwide, and Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bars.

Brands that held onto the top spot in their categories since the 2014 ranking include Hyundai, Google, Domino’s, Ford, Avis, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Konica Minolta.

Overall, Apple takes the top spot in the most categories with customers ranking it as the brand they’re most loyal to in three categories: laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Here are the top brands in 2015 based on customer loyalty according to Brand Keys’ in several popular categories:

  • Airline: Air Canada
  • Athletic Footwear: Nike
  • Automotive: Ford and Hyundai
  • Banks: Chase
  • Credit Cards: American Express and Discover
  • Laptop Computers: Apple
  • Online Music: Pandora
  • Online Retailers: Amazon
  • Online Travel Site: Travelocity
  • Online Video Streaming: Netflix
  • Printers: Canon
  • Search Engine: Google
  • Smartphone: Apple
  • Social Networking Sites: Facebook
  • Tablets: Apple

It’s important to note that there is a growing gap between what customers expect to get from brands and what brands are actually delivering to consumers. Brand Keys found that although customer expectations have increased by 28% across all of the categories in the 2015 study, brands have only improved their ability to meet customer expectations by 7% over the prior year.

The most important part of branding is massaging consumer perceptions so they have realistic expectations for your brand (i.e., the expectations that you want them to have) and then meeting or exceeding those expectations in every brand interaction. Today, it’s too easy to switch to a new brand. If your brand fails to meet consumer expectations, they’ll turn away from it and find another that does meet their expectations in every interaction.

Are you meeting your customers’ expectations for your brand? Remember, if your brand lets your customers down, it’s very difficult to regain their trust. Without their trust, there is no loyalty and your brand will fail. Close the gap!

Image: Robert Linder

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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