Robert Passikoff, founder and CEO of Brand Keys, unpacks their latest report – the 2022 Loyalty Leaders. Dr. Passikoff and his company have been measuring and tracking consumer loyalty for more than 25 years and have helped to guide some of the world’s largest brands into greater congruency with their customers – and their customers’ expectations. In this candid discussion, Passikoff gets to the data behind the biggest brand movers since last year’s report, the biggest category shifts, and points the way toward some emerging trends that brands will need to contend with in the very near future.
This is the 14th year that we’ve looked at the loyalty leaders list. It’s a cross category view, which gives us an amazing, amazing perspective regarding how brands are trying and, and they’re either succeeding or not succeeding in meeting customer expectations.
TheCustomer: Which brands were this year’s big movers?
Robert Passikoff: With any kind of list, even one is accurate as ours, I mean, we see movement. I mean, it’s not static. Something does not remain in place just because brands wish it would. And we see movement up and down the list up as better. It means that brands are better meeting expectations. We’ve seen brands that have returned return to the list have moved up the list brands like McDonald’s for example. I mean, they’ve done, they’ve done very well. Reconfiguring menus, reconfiguring price points reopening stores quite honestly that were closed during the, the pandemic and people are reacting positively.
And they’re seeing results to their bottom line. State Farm insurance insurance, generally not being the most interesting category in the world, but was one of the largest movements up the list this year. And I actually, shouldn’t be surprised because when we look at the brand within category, not even cross category, they are number one in every one of the consumer insurance categories that we look at. So cause and effect. I mean, you know, they do very well from a media perspective. MSNBC, for example, which has always been pretty high on the list and to be balanced, Fox has been high on the list too, it represents the two ends of the political spectrum, but from a loyalty perspective, people are very loyal to the brands. MSNBC has moved up almost 20 points – 20 places on the list.
That’s an incredible move. We look at why – you kind of go, well, the expectation that you have regarding media and news is that it’s going to inform me. And I think our time we do the study every year, the same time, but I think the timing of the January 6th hearings, which MSNBC ran from beginning to end 24/7 was something that their loyal viewers felt met their expectations better. And as a result, they moved them up the list.
TheCustomer: What about the losers?
Robert Passikoff: Most of the time, there’s an actual explanation for why loyalty drops off. The two (I kind of I’m fighting the urge to call them the losers), although they lost rank on the list. And we generally would say, you know, loyalty losers were Purell and Clorox who had been a new to the list two years ago, moderately high on the list last year.
And this year they’re still on the list, but they’re down 50 some points. I want to point out that even though we’ve got what we really do term as the losers, the top hundred brands only represent 6% of the entire database of brands that we look at almost 1700 brands. So ending up being number 61 on the list is not terrible. But it is telling us from a cross category perspective, what kinds of things are happening in terms of consumer expectations, consumer needs – the kind of things that brands need to need to do in order to maintain the kind of loyalty resonance that you’d like,
TheCustomer: What about category movement?
Robert Passikoff: From a category perspective things pretty much spread out. We didn’t see things that shifted one way or the other for one particular category or another.
The one thing I found, I guess, surprising and interesting was that I would have thought that most of the top brands were going to end up being high tech brands. I think those are the ones that seem to be able to turn on a dime regarding what people expect and what consumers need and so on and so forth. But that wasn’t the case. I mean, retail tech is in there, but retail food and beverages, those made up the lion’s share of more than half of the brands that showed up on the list, including including technology. I’m always kind of taken by the new brands that show up. And when I say “new”, that means the ones that now are in the top hundred. I know it doesn’t surprise anyone when you see someone like Pfizer showing up a number five on the list.
I mean you know, this isn’t the popularity contest. It’s a measure of how well these brands are meeting expectations within a category. And so if you’re talking about vaccinations in healthcare it isn’t a surprise. I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they show up, Moderna shows up on the list, new a little lower than, than Pfizer. And I don’t think in the top 20, but you know, they’re there. What did surprise me was that two plant based meat brands showed up on the list this year BeyondMeat and Impossible Foods both showing up in the top hundred. What do they say? You know, one is an accident. You know, two is not an accident. Two is telling you something about the category and about how consumers are looking at that category.
TheCustomer: Predictions – where is the data pointing?
Robert Passikoff: As more of the automotive brands get into the electric vehicle category and expectations regarding that category expand, you’re gonna see more automotive brands appear on the list. I think you’re going to see some of that because expectations regarding novelty are always something that you can see when it comes to entertainment. Yeah, we’ve got entertainment brands on the list. And if you had asked me to bet, I would’ve told you that Netflix would’ve been in the top five brands as it has been for a long time. It is not. Netflix dropped to eighth place this year, which again is not, not a bad thing, but on this list, it’s a leading indicator in terms of how the brand is going to do.
This is not investment advice. It’s just pointing out that who’s taking their place showed up on the list for the first time moderately high is DisneyPlus. Disney as a brand, generally has always shown up on the list, but DisneyPlus has shown up very high on the list. And so it’s telling me that there are value shifts that are going on – expectation shifts – that are going on in terms of expectations. And so if I were HBO, max, or I were DiscoveryPlus, or I were ESPN, I’d be looking real hard at where the values are going.
The complete 2022 Top 100 Loyalty Leaders List can be viewed here.
For more information regarding the Brand Keys 2022 Loyalty Leaders List, your brand’s position on the list, or information about integrating predictive loyalty and emotional engagement metrics into your marketing and branding efforts, contact Leigh Benatar at firstname.lastname@example.org.