The ranking is based on a survey by brand consultancy Brand Keys of 65 product categories and 721 brands. The survey included more than 43,000 consumers ages 18 to 65 who were interviewed by phone (75% of the total) or in-person (20%), and the remaining 5% who were assessed online.
Brand Keys founder and president said:
Brand loyalty has always been driven by emotional engagement, and the rankings on the 2014 list should make it abundantly clear to marketers that connection, meaning, and differentiation [are] everything.
The top 20 loyalty leaders and the associated categories are:
- Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN): tablets
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL): tablets
- Apple: smartphones
- YouTube from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG): social networking
- What’s App from Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB): instant messaging
- Amazon: online retail
- Google: search engines
- Kindle (Amazon): e-readers
- Samsung: smartphones
- Dunkin’ Donuts from Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (NASDAQ: DNKN): coffee
- Facebook: social networking
- Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX): video streaming
- Beats (now Apple): headphones
- Call of Duty from Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI): major league gaming
- Amazon: online retail (sic)
- Zappos from Amazon: online retail
- Apple: computers
- Instagram from Facebook: social networking
- PayPal from eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY): online payments
- Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR): social networking
Brands that made the biggest moves up the rankings since last year include Netflix (+79), Estee Lauder (+31), MAC Cosmetics (+28), HTC smartphones (+26) and Cover Girl cosmetics (+25).
Brands that made the biggest moves down in the rankings are Max Factor (-20), Clinique (-16), Grey Goose vodka (-13), Revlon (-13), and Apple computers, Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (NYSE: WMT) Sam’s Club stores all dropped 11 notches.
- Apple and Samsung are the only computer manufacturers to make the list.
- McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) did not make the list for the first time since 1996, the first year Brand Keys conducted its survey.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is the top-rated fast-casual restaurant at number 32.
- Neither Coke nor Pepsi appears on the top 100 list.
- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is the top-rated U.S. automaker at number 26. Hyundai ranks 23rd, leading all carmakers.
- Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) and Trader Joe’s both entered the list this year, at number 42 and number 47, respectively.
- Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) ranked 50th, far behind number 10 Dunkin’ Donuts.
- No pay-TV provider made the list, but AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) both squeaked in at numbers 95 and 100, respectively, as wireless carriers.
- No airlines made the top 100 list.
As the Brand Keys president points out, “[Y]ou can’t build loyalty on the basis of price.” That includes dollar menus at fast-food places and low air fares with a pile of fees. And the fact that pay-TV providers get no love at all indicates how consumers feel about being forced to swallow whatever the (usually) monopoly provider gives them.
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