Emotional engagement, a leading-indicator of consumer behavior, sales and corporate profitability, is now more difficult for technology-based brands to achieve as the key drivers of brand engagement have shifted dramatically toward emotional values in the majority of the 72 categories surveying 635 brands in Brand Keys‘ 2016 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI). This is the 21st annual survey conducted by brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy Brand Keys.
Technology Brands Best Meeting Consumers’ Emotional Engagement Values
There were 12 tech categories included in Brand Keys’ 2016 assessments. The brands seen to best meet consumers’ expectations for emotional category engagement values (in parentheses) were seen to be:
- App-Base Rideshare: Lyft (A Ride In My Pocket I Can Trust)
- Computers (Laptops): Apple (Innovative Customer Intimacy)
- E-Readers Kindle (It’s My Connected & Curated Library)
- File Hosting Dropbox (A Lot Always Rides On This)
- Flat Screen Smart TVs: Samsung (My Own Ultimate Viewing Experience)
- Headphones: Beats (How I Add To My Connection With The World)
- Instant Messaging: WhatsApp (I Can Always Be Cool)
- MFP Copiers: Konica Minolta (Whatever Helps Me Make My Goals)
- Printers: HP (What I Do Is Always Better)
- Search Engine: Google (Part of My Emotional Landscape)
- Smartphone: Apple (I Can Do Anything [From My Phone])
- Social Networking: Facebook (Always, Always In The Know)
“The consumer engagement process today is more dependent on emotional values than ever,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, in a news release. “As rational attributes have become price-of-entry givens for today’s consumers, emotional values have become more problematic for brands, not brand outreach or messaging, but how to accurately determine which emotional values a brand should leverage to emotionally engage consumers. These are the values that describe how consumers view the category, will compare brands and how they will engage with a brand, buy, remain loyal and profitable.”
Engagement Correlates Highly With Brand Profitability
“If a marketer can increase a brand’s engagement level—particularly the emotional values—they’ll always see positive consumer behavior in the marketplace. Always,” noted Passikoff. “Axiomatically, brands that can do that always earn greater market share and are more profitable than the competition. To succeed, marketers need to accurately answer these questions—what drives my category, what are the emotional engagement values I need to focus on, how can my brand exceed consumer expectations for those emotional values? To their detriment, most brands can’t. As a result, they rely largely on imagery or entertainment as proxies for emotional engagement. They’re not the same things,” Passikoff said.
Categories Are Expanding Every Year
Brand-expansion in several categories, added 83 new brands to the 2016 CLEI survey. “The increased number of brands appearing in consumers’ consideration sets confirms the category volatility brands will face in the marketplace,” said Passikoff.
The CLEI brand lists aren’t pre-determined. Consumers tell Brand Keys researchers which brands they actually use. When consumers mention new brands at a significant level, it’s an indicator that current options do not meet their needs. And when that happens, consumers look to other brands to do that for them. Today it’s the emotional side of that equation brands need to concentrate on,” said Passikoff. “The rational stuff is easy. Profitability has become far more difficult.”
For the 2016 survey, 42,792 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the brands for which they are top-20% customers. Seventy (70%) percent were interviewed by phone, 25% percent via face-to-face interviews (to identify and include cellphone-only households), and 5% online. Brand Keys uses an independently validated research approach that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories. The research technique is a combination of psychological inquiry and statistical analyses, has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93, and provides results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries.
Source: Brand Keys; edited by Richard Carufel