A recent study that analyzed the level of brand loyalty consumers have to 855 different brands across 94 types of equipment yielded some expected and unexpected results. In the consumer electronics category and specific to product categories purchased commonly by integrators, LG TVs, Sony TVs, and Samsung TVs were joined by Monster cables as the four brands and specific equipment categories that earn the highest level of loyalty and have the highest expectations among consumers.
According to Brand Keys’ 25th annual 2021 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), customer brand loyalty has survived the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposed a severe stress test on brands. The national survey, conducted by the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy, found that while the pandemic claimed many business and brand fatalities, customer loyalty was not among them.
“The new CLEI survey found 2020 marketplace rigors created two loyalty challenges for brands,” notes Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president. “First, how to enhance brand-to-consumer emotional engagement and, second, how to leverage brand values to best meet customers’ expectations.”
LG Has Highest TV Rating
According to the study, LG, Samsung, Sony and Monster all elicit “higher levels of emotional engagement and higher levels of meeting customer expectations.”
LG had the highest engagement and expectations among the group with an 84 rating for meeting expectations and a 75 rating for emotional engagement. Samsung smart phones and tablets also performed well in the study. The highest overall consumer electronics companies and devices in terms of brand loyalty were Apple smart phones and laptops, along with Amazon tablets and Kindle reader, and Konica copy machines.
The 2021 survey examined 94 categories and 855 brands. Within consumer electronics there were eight equipment categories reviewed: tablets, laptops, e-readers, TVs, headphones, MFP Copiers, and smart phones.
The company created a “loyalty map” with various quadrants to visually depict the analysis. Each quadrant on the map represents a combination of values related to predictive loyalty drivers: Emotional Engagement and Meeting Customer Expectations.
“Ideally,” says Passikoff, “You want consumers to feel your brand engenders high emotional engagement and meets their expectations as completely as possible. Brands able to do that are six times more likely to create loyal customers, and loyal customers are six times more likely to give a brand the benefit of the doubt in tough circumstances.”
He continues, “Emotional engagement, the result of effective marketing communications that increases a brand’s equity, results in customers behaving more positively toward the brand. Consumer expectations, a key dimension of customers’ brand belief-systems, are unconstrained customer desires. Expectations increase on average 22% a year, yet brands typically manage to achieve only a 7% increase – a big gap between customer desires and brand promises to deliver.”
Broken Supply Chain Does Not Affect Brand Loyalty
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has altered how, when, and where consumers shop.
“And also, what we buy,” says Passikoff. “Lockdowns and sheltering-in have drastically altered modern life. Increased use of telecommuting for work, education, and leisure has led to a surge in demand for electronic products.”
Desperate times have called for desperate choices due to lack of product availability. Purchase of “new” or “alternative” brands represents need, not a lack of customer loyalty.
“During pandemics consumers will compromise, but they still continue to demand that their expectations be met,” notes Passikoff. “But lack of product availability does not denote a decline of brand loyalty. Yes, being in-stock matters as regards sales, but loyal customers are more likely to stick with their favorite brands through difficult times and, in a more stable marketplace, will wait for them or will actively seek them out.”
“What’s incontrovertible is that the 2021 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index confirms brands that best meet consumers’ expectations, and are capable of sustaining emotional engagement relationships, always see enhanced loyalty – and the market share and profits that come with it,” adds Passikoff.
A complete list of the CLEI’s 94 categories, and the brands exhibiting the highest brand loyalty focus via emotionally-engaged customers and an ability to best meet customer expectations can be found here.