• September 23, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

A Look at Where the Loyalty Lies

Brand Keys has released its 2019 Top 100 Loyalty Leaders. The annual survey, now in its 23rd year, examined 921 brands in 110 categories.

Competitive sets, atypical increases in customer expectations, and increasing opportunities for traditional and digital outreach and brand engagement have altered the sector-terrain as far as brand loyalty is concerned, according to Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys' founder and president.

Passikoff suggests that anything that influences loyalty should be of material interest to marketers, noting that loyalty is six times more powerful than satisfaction, 11 times more accurate than recommendations, 18 months ahead of focus groups and tracking studies, and can optimize brand marketing, advertising, and media outreach by 20 percent..

First-Time Top 100 Appearances

When it comes to confronting expansion, companies able to define their frame of reference clearly and engagingly moved into the Top 100 Loyalty Leaders. This year marks the first-time appearance for seven brands: Expedia (#73), Chobani (#83), PayPal (#95), Coca-Cola (#97), Konica-Minolta (#98), Dick's Sporting Goods (#99), and Dollar Tree (#100).

Dick's Sporting Goods moved up by engaging consumers with a new anti-assault weapon positioning that removed assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks from its stores.

Coca-Cola engaged consumers with an overall brand re-stage, which included new ad campaigns, new CSR, and new flavors.

Konica-Minolta's "Making the World Work" campaign spoke directly to the B2B community with the message that the company was there to help them succeed.

Dollar Tree seems immune to any threat by Amazon (#1 again this year on the Loyalty Leaders List) due to a no-frills approach that meets consumers expanded expectations for value and convenience. Dollar Tree is opening 650 new stores in the midst of the biggest wave of bankruptcies and store closing in decades. "You need real loyalty to be able to do that," Passikoff said.

Chobani's in-house advertising has created a household engagement penetration of nearly 40 percent, and the company is constantly and positively reinventing itself to meet consumers' ever-expanding expectations, according to Passikoff.

Returning Loyalty Leaders

Two companies—both in the restaurant category—returned to this year's Top 100 list. They were Chipotle ;(#94), after a 4-year absence, and McDonald's (#68), after a 7-year hiatus.

Nine Brands Disappeared

Nine brands disappeared from the 2019 Top 100 Loyalty Leaders List due almost entirely to the expansion of competitive sets. These were Airbnb, Au Bon Pain, Grand Theft Auto, Papa John's, Pinterest, Reebok, Tumblr, Victoria's Secret, and Zubrowka.

In addition to fostering new loyalty levels, the returning and first-time companies have kept customers buying, attracted new consumers, and driven sales to new highs. "They accomplished that by managing the expansion of competitive challenges, vastly amplifying consumer expectations, and by engaging consumers via both traditional and digital outreach," Passikoff said.

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