According to the latest research from Brand Keys, consumers are taking solace in familiar brands despite a “COVID-induced medical and marketplace trial-by-fire.”
The winners are predictable. Amazon, as an online retailer, takes the top spot, followed by Apple (for its smartphones, up from #4 last year); Netflix (down from #2); and Domino’s Pizza, up from #5.
Amazon, when rated as a video streaming brand, comes in again at the #5 spot (down two places from #3 in 2020) and Disney+ (up one from #7 in 2020), Google, WhatsApp, Instagram and Nike round out the top 10.
Hulu came in #18, (up one from 2020), while Apple TV entered at #26 on the brand loyalty hit parade. Only one newcomer — TikTok — made its way into the top 25.
That’s the fewest number of newbies in more than a decade. And Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president, says this is the strongest evidence yet that loyalty is still important.
While it’s true consumers may be willing to occasionally try new brands, Passikoff says, in fact, they’re seeking emotional engagement more than before, and looking for solace in the brands that provide the most security.
“If a brand can make the emotional connection, they’re going to be the loyalty and market share winner. Look at Amazon. There are lots of online retailers, but they make a connection fulfilling consumers’ needs for ‘immediate gratification.’ Apple did via outreach and ‘human connection.’ Netflix did it via ‘diversion,’ and Domino’s was pure ‘comfort’ [food]. That’s not to say other brands can’t perform rationally based on primacy-of-product. It’s just that the top brands did it better than anyone else.”
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He added that TikTok is a good example of a desire for connection. “Social networking has shifted quite a bit over the past two years. Apple TV has been around for a bit now and finally got it right as regards to programming that responds to the consumer’s need for ‘diversion.’ Meeting expectations is mostly emotional, but not entirely. Quality matters and you can’t get people engaged with weak storytelling.”
The analysis was conducted over the past two months and included over 53,000 assessments from men and women 16-65 from nine different US census regions. The survey featured 1,260 brands in 112 categories.