Consumer Products

Top 10 Brands That Know the Secret of Loyalty

Paul Ausick

Source: Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

5. Out-of-Home Coffee: Dunkin’
> Brand loyalty: 13 years

Founded in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1948 as a donut and coffee restaurant called Open Kettle, renamed Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950, the brand now goes only by its first name (sort of like Beyoncé). Given the fickleness of consumer tastes in nearly everything else, maintaining a top brand rating in what is, in effect, a commodity is no mean accomplishment. Holding on to its top rating for 13 straight years indicates that Dunkin’ continues to meet consumers’ lofty expectations.

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4. Pizza: Domino’s
> Brand loyalty: 15 years

Domino’s got its start in 1960 and by the 1980s had become identified with its “30-minutes or it’s free” delivery guarantee. The company dropped the quick-delivery promise following a number of auto accidents that were attributed to drivers trying to beat the 30-minute deadline. That 250+% increase in overall consumer trust expectations has not affected the pizza business; the category has experienced just an 8% rise year over year, suggesting that the trust level is likely as high as it’s going to get. Barring a major stumble, then, other pizza joints are going to have a hard time displacing Domino’s long-running perch at the top.

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3. Search Engine: Google
> Brand loyalty: 19 years

The path to search dominance is littered with the corpses of search engines vanquished by Google. Search engines from Alta Vista, Lycos, Infoseek, Inktomi, HotBot, Ask Jeeves, and many others preceded Google, but the company’s page-rank system simply delivered higher quality results. And while some of the company’s business practices have come under fire recently, the power of its search engine remains undisputed: In January, Google’s search market share was nearly 93%.

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2. Car Rental: Avis
> Brand loyalty: 20 years

Avis rolled out its “We Try Harder” advertising and marketing campaign in 1962, framing itself as the number-two car rental company (behind Hertz). Americans love underdogs and this campaign played right into that love. The campaign was so successful that Avis didn’t drop the tagline until 2012. While Avis never did surpass Hertz to become number one, consumers remember that it has never stopped trying.

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1. Credit Cards: Discover
> Brand loyalty: 23 years

The Discover card was launched in 1985 by Sears. The card charged no annual fee and offered a higher-than-usual credit limit, but other retailers were loathe to accept the card because that doing so was helping Sears, at the time still one of their chief competitors. Sears sold all its financial businesses in 1993, but the legacy of the Discover card continues — the card still does not charge an annual fee.