Brand Keys, a brand research consultancy based in New York, recently released its Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.
 
The results of the 2020 edition of the report, which looks at “customers’ relationships with 833 brands in 85 categories,” came from more than 62,000 consumers, ages 16 to 65 from across the United States. Participants, who self-selected categories in which they are consumers and brands for which they are customers, were interviewed either by phone (40 percent), online (20 percent) or face to face (40 percent).
 
The results, according to Brand Keys, indicate an average of a 20 percent increase in customer brand loyalty across industries from 2019 to 2020.
 
“It is great to see the Brand Keys study reinforce some of the qualitative findings we are seeing from the members of Loyalty360 – the increased interest, focus and organizational commitment around customer loyalty,” said Mark Johnson, CEO and CMO of Loyalty360.
 
“Analysts, consulting firms, and research practices that declared brand loyalty dead are talking about a consumer loyalty model that expired in 1990,” Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, stated in the report. “Back then loyalty was a black-and-white issue for consumers. But loyalty didn’t die. Rather, it has evolved in a more complex marketplace with more sophisticated consumers.”
 
Brand Keys produced a list of “Top 20 Brands With 2020 Loyalty Focus.” Leading that list is Chick-fil-A, Zara, WhatsApp, Amazon, Netflix, Dunkin’, Konica Minolta, Vans, Hyundai, and MSNBC – each with a year-over-year increase of in-market brand loyalty of more than 20 percent.
 
“Of the list of brands that were winners this year, many of them are members of Loyalty360,” Johnson added. “They have won awards with Loyalty360 and other entities. Their quotidian commitment to the customer is reflected in this recognition and their steadfast dedication to putting the customer first.”
 
Some of the several other companies noted as 2020 Winning Brands in Brand Keys’ 25th annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index are below.
 
Airline: Delta
App-based Rideshare: Lyft                                 
Car Rental: Avis
Casual/Fast Casual Dining: Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Credit Cards: Discover
Hotel (Economy): Wyndham Microtel
Hotel (Midscale): Drury
Hotel (Upscale): Marriott
Hotel (Luxury): Ritz-Carlton
Online Payment Service: PayPal
Pizza: Domino’s
Retail (Department Store): TJ Maxx
Retail (Discount): Walmart
Retail (Home Improvement): Home Depot
Retail (Sporting Goods): Dick’s Sporting Goods
 
“It only takes a nanosecond for consumers to note how well a brand is ‘seen’ to meet their expectations for the path-to-purchase drivers that defines behavior toward and fidelity to a brand. That’s the 21st century version of brand loyalty,” Passikoff said in the report. “Brands that can meet consumer expectations will always see higher levels of engagement, loyalty, and sales.”
 
Passikoff has pointed to trust as a key factor in brands developing customer loyalty and engagement. The president of Brand Keys led a session entitled “How Does ‘Trust’ Affect Loyalty: A Cross-Category Examination of How ‘Trust’ Affects Customer Behavior and What Marketers Can Do About It” at Loyalty360’s Customer Expo 2019 in November.
 
During that presentation, Passikoff emphasized that marketers must look at where trust resides in their sector, because as trust increases, loyalty increases. “Trust doesn’t come with a refill,” he said. “Once it’s gone, it’s probably not coming back.”
 
 
More on Brand Keys from Loyalty360
Brand Keys Founder Discusses Contemporary Loyalty and Consumer Expectations
Brand Keys President Talks Trust at Customer Expo 2019

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