And the Least Engaging Brands Are…

March 12, 2014

BrandKeys-10-Least-Engaging-Brands-of-2014-Mar2014Consumers have higher emotional expectations from brands than ever before, according to a recent Brand Keys study. The initial release of study results last month showed the best-performing brands in terms of measuring up to their category ideal, with brands such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix topping their respective categories. Now, Brand Keys has released its list of the brands that are performing the worst on this measure.

As part of its study, which was based on a proprietary survey-based method, Brand Keys assigned a percentage score to 555 brands across 64 categories. This brand engagement score is defined as “the degree to which a brand is seen to meet the expectations held for the Ideal in the category.” In other words, consumers might have different emotional expectations for an auto brand than a smartphone brand. By ranking brands against their category ideals, the study is able to then generate cross-category rankings.

And that’s what Brand Keys has done in this latest release, identifying the brands that performed worst in their respective categories and then measuring which had the 10 lowest brand engagement scores (bear in mind that Brand Keys believes that the benchmark for success if 85% or higher).

Without further ado, the 10 least engaging brands this year are:

  • BlackBerry (52%);
  • Quiznos (57%);
  • Kmart (59%);
  • Sony E-Readers (60%);
  • WOW Search (60%);
  • Sears (64%);
  • American Apparel (65%);
  • Budweiser (Regular; 70%);
  • Coty Cosmetics (71%); and
  • Volkswagen (79%).

How do some of those compare to leaders in their categories? Quiznos, with its score of 57% trails Subway (93%) in the quick-service restaurant category by a significant margin. And in the e-readers category, Sony (60%) finds itself well behind leader Kindle (96%).

As for BlackBerry, which finds itself with just 3% of the smartphone market, per the latest comScore figures? It’s low score of 52% simply adds to its woes, far behind Apple’s leading customer engagement score of 81% in the smartphone category.

About the Data: Brand Keys describes its methodology as follows:

“For the Brand Keys 2014 survey, 32,000 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age drawn from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the brands for which they are customers (top-20%). Seventy percent (70%) were interviewed by phone, twenty-five percent (25%) via face-to-face interviews (to include cell phone-only households), and 5% participated online.

Assessments are based on an independently-validated research technique that fuses rational and emotional aspects of the categories to identify the behavioral drivers for each category- specific Ideal, and identifies the attributes, benefits, and values that form the components of each driver. The Ideal describes a precise path-to-purchase, describing how the consumer will view the category, how they will compare brands and, ultimately how they will engage with the brand, buy, and remain loyal. Then the assessments measure how well brands meet expectations consumers hold for each driver that makes up the Ideal for a specific category.

The proprietary research technique combines psychological inquiry with higher-order statistical analyses to deliver a verified test/re-test reliability of 0.93, with results generalizable at the 95% confidence level. It has been successfully used in B2B and B2C categories in 35 countries around the world.”

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