National survey finds 60 percent of travel brands face loyalty challenges
Brand Keys 2018 customer loyalty engagement index: It isn’t politics (or social activism) as usual
Voter tribalism and consumer advocacy create unprecedented shifts in category values necessitating a new-view of engagement and loyalty for brands
Avis, Lyft, Hyatt, and Wingate Maintain Category Dominance
New Engagement Paradigm Creates Leadership Opportunities
Delta, Wyndham Microtel, Marriott, Yahoo Travel
Political polarization and more fervent social movements like #grabyourwallet, #MeToo, and #TimesUp have changed the face of brand engagement and consumer loyalty, according to the Brand Keys 23rd annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index® (CLEI), conducted by the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy (brandkeys.com). “This is the first time since the Index was initiated nearly 25 years ago where basic tenets of consumer loyalty and engagement have been turned upside-down,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.
Biggest Shifts In Category Dynamics and Brand Leadership
This year the Brand Keys CLEI examined 84 categories and 761 brands – from Automotive and OTC Allergy Meds to Computers, Fast-Casual Dining, Tax Preparation and Online Investing, Retail (of all types), Smartphones, Cable and Broadcast News, and Cosmetics.
How consumers view a category and how they will compare brands competing in that category changed dramatically in 60 percent of Travel-related categories. That shift resulted in a brand engagement and loyalty transformation and a shift in brand leadership of 50 percent.
“We’ve just never encountered these kinds of value-adjustments before,” noted Passikoff. “But then, we haven’t seen this kind of political polarization or social turmoil at the same time since we began taking these assessments either.”
What Drives Category Change? Political Tribalism or Social Activism?
The Travel-Related categories reacting most to values associated with Political Tribalism including Personal Responsibility, Moral Order, Family Values, Fiscal Conservatism, and Established Social Structures were:
2. App-Based Ride Share
3. Upscale Hotels
4. Luxury Hotels
The sectors reacting most to values associated with social activism that included Empathy, Equality, Empowerment, Individualism, and Pride were:
1. Car Rentals
2. Economy Hotels
3. Midscale Hotels
4. Online Travel
Entirely New-View of What Consumers See As Ideal
’Brand engagement’ is still best defined by how well a brand can meet the expectations consumers hold for the values that drive purchases behavior in a given category,” noted Passikoff. “But category political polarization and social activism have shaken those values to their core. If marketers think they knew what consumers’ ‘Category Ideals’ looked like before, they need to take another hard look, because as of now consumers have an entirely new-view of what is the Ideal for them,” said Passikoff.
The Future of Successful Branding (Politically and Socially)
Decision-making has become more emotionally-driven over the past decade,” said Passikoff. “But the addition of tribal political and activist values has transformed the brand space into something marketers haven’t faced before. ‘Business as usual’ won’t cut it in this brandscape.”
“We expect to see value and expectation shifts,” said Passikoff, “But we’ve never measured anything on this scale before! Fortunately the integrated psychological nature of our approach allows us to identify new and particularly resonant emotional values and measure how they impact a category. This was the year that political tribalism and social activism rose to the top and are going to change how successful branding is done in the future.”
A complete list of the CLEI’s 84 categories can be found at http://brandkeys.com/portfolio/customer-loyalty-engagement-index