This year's survey discovered that consumer behavior and loyalty are governed largely by...

This year's survey discovered that consumer behavior and loyalty are governed largely by emotional values and feelings toward a company over function.

Source: Brand Keys, Inc.

Brand Keys has released its Silver Anniversary Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI).

In the index, Avis Car Rental has been named as one of the 2022 Automotive Sector Loyalty Winners. Other winners include Curb (taxi hailing), Exxon Mobil (gasoline), Hyundai (automobiles), Lyft (ride share), State Farm (car insurance), and Via (carpooling).

For 23 years, Avis has been named as a customer loyalty winner in the CLEI, according to Brand Keys.

“The 25th anniversary of the CLEI seemed an appropriate time to recognize brands consumers have consecutively rated #1 when it comes to loyalty,” said Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys. “A testament to these brands’ abilities to meet their customers’ expectations and generate emotional engagement over sustained periods of time.”

The 2022 survey revealed a widening gap between customer expectations and brand delivery, according to the company.

The survey found consumer behavior and loyalty are now almost entirely governed by emotional values, which represent additional meaning to the customer beyond product function – how the product or service makes the customer feel rather than what the product does.

In 1997, the ratio between rational and emotional in the automotive sector was 70:30. Consumers now put more emotional weight into their purchase decisions. The automotive sector, emotional to rational, has now inverted (73:27), with rational category values filed under “Primacy-of-Product” or “Price-of-Entry” by consumers, according to Brand Keys.

Since 1997 in the automotive sector, the net increase in consumer expectations for their category ideal has been 40%, according to Passikoff. “Automotive sector brands have only kept up by 18%, leaving an awfully big gap between consumer desire and brand delivery,” he said.

“Increase brand loyalty and customers are six times more likely to engage with you, buy you, and buy you again,” said Passikoff. “They’ll pay more attention to your marketing efforts and your advertising. And in light of the COVID pandemic, perhaps most importantly, consumers are six times more likely to give brands the benefit of the doubt in uncertain circumstances. Like product shortages, supply-chain SNAFUs, and even price increases.”

The 25th annual survey adds an additional 88,126 consumer interviews to the database of predictive brand loyalty tracking metrics, now 4.3 million customer assessments.

“Brands that meet expectations and emotionally engage will survive,” added Passikoff. “Brands that want to own categories and customers will have to own an emotional value that will differentiate them and be something consumers cede to the brand.”

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Amy Hercher

Amy Hercher

Former Senior Editor

Amy is a former senior editor with Bobit Business Media's AutoGroup.

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