Apple Tops Brand Loyalty Survey (AAPL, KO, GOOG, AMZN, SBUX, TGT, MSFT)

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What consumers value most in a product are quality and customer service. Companies that succeed in creating a brand based on excellent quality and outstanding customer service can charge more for their products, get away with occasional goofs, and depend on their customers to promote the company with the zeal of a convert.

According to the results of a survey by research firm ClickFox, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was named by 20% of respondents as “the brand they couldn’t live without.” Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) were the next-highest finishers, with other brands like Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) also called out among a “slew” of other companies and brands.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly listed quality as the main driver of brand loyalty (88%), followed by 72% who named customer service. A whopping 87% said they would pay higher prices or make some other accommodation to support their favorite brands.

And it’s never too early to start. Nearly half of respondents said that brand loyalty begins at the time of purchase, while 40% said that a critical component of loyalty is effectively resolving product or service issues.

All of this is relatively obvious, of course, but what may not be so obvious is the payoff. Nearly 80% of survey respondents said that tell other people about the brands they can’t live without. About 70% say they buy more of the brand’s products and more than half say that they don’t even consider other brands.

The next time you wonder why Apple’s stock is up more than 500% over the past five years, repeat this thought: More than half don’t even consider buying another brand.

Paul Ausick