According to a survey by the polling firm IBOPE/Zogby International for rbb Public Relations, companies have to show consumers the love in order to attract and keep them in today's dynamic marketplace. Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, 83 percent are willing to spend more on a product or service if they feel a personal connection to the company — and one fifth of respondents said they would pay 50 percent or more if they felt the company put the customer first.
The survey found that to stay competitive, companies are adopting marketing strategies that align with today's new consumer perspective. Instead of chasing the competition to become number one, creating powerful customer experiences is the top priority. rbb has labeled companies leading this charge as "Breakout Brands."
"Breakout brands don't challenge their competitors," said Christine Barney, CEO of rbb Public Relations, in a news release. "They challenge their employees and leaders to make life easier/better for their customers, which create the kind of strong emotional bonds that inspire repeat purchases and loyalty."
Barney noted that being a good company isn't always enough to qualify as a Breakout Brand. Of the companies included in Fortune Magazine's Most Admired Brands in 2012, Apple and Amazon were the only two considered Breakout Brands by more than half the people surveyed. Apple ranked as the top Breakout Brand overall for creating desire so strong that customers are willing to wait in line for days and pay more for products that aren't always considered best in their category. The survey's list of the top Breakout Brands includes:
- Trader Joe's
- Southwest Airlines
The research indicates Breakout Brand companies share a common strategy. They deliver services and products that trigger a response, an emotion, and a reaction from customers. Consider Zappos.com with its free return policy backed by a fun-loving customer service approach that delivers "happiness." Or the anticipation coffee drinkers feel for Starbucks' limited edition menu options, like the Pumpkin Spice Latte or Peppermint Mocha that signal the arrival of the holidays.
"Breakout Brands have communication in their souls," added Barney. "They build incredibly rich feedback loops that keep the company in touch with customers' needs today and tomorrow."