If I asked you to whom you are loyal, many of you would answer with similar words and phrases. “My family/spouse/kids” would be at the top of the list. “My employer” would rank up there, even if the boss is having a Monday on Thursday. After that, things start to diverge a bit. My school’s sports team (“Roll Tide,” “War Eagle,” “Boomer Sooner,” “Fight On,” “Go Ducks”) would get a lot of run. “My church,” or “my lodge, club, or fraternal organization” may be on your list. After these, the answers splinter off into subgroups and subgroups of subgroups until everyone’s answer is different. The subject of loyalty is huge in business. What do the various corporations, from cars to popcorn, have in common? They are hard at work trying to establish a loyal clientele.
Recently, Wall Street 24/7 came out with this year’s list of the Top 100 brands to which the public claimed loyalty. What makes this list one to aspire to join? First, these are the biggest boys in the big boy club, and second, they are from 1-100 familiar names to every consumer. Gildshire analyzed the list, in search of conclusions. We looked at companies rising, as well as those falling.
The Top Ten:
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN): online retail
Google, part of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL): search engines
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL): smartphones
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX): video streaming
Amazon: video streaming
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB): social networking
Trader Joes: natural foods
What caught our eye? Oh, you mean besides the fact that Amazon shows up three times? It seems the people who make their business home at 410 Terry Ave. North, in Seattle, conquered the world of brand loyalty, and they did it with one word. “Prime.” Yes, Amazon loses a ton of money each year on Prime, and free two-day shipping alone costs them $2 billion a year. But, the loyalty the program has engendered is unprecedented. We used to believe that the world was going to be taken over by some combination of Microsoft, Disney, and Starbucks. Now we know that Amazon will eventually take over the world and that we will be the two-day shipping, Prime Video watching reason for it.
What else surprised us in the Top Ten? Facebook’s resiliency in the face of Congressional investigations and some internal upheaval. In spite of it all we “like.”
Brands Gaining Ground:
Gildshire was a little surprised by the companies on the fast-riser list, because of what we did not see. No tech companies show up on the “with a bullet” list, but who did?
T.J. Maxx (up 38 spots to 35th this year).
5 Guys Burgers & Fries (up 36 spots to 64th this year).
Zara (up 32 spots to 57th this year).
Lyft (up 18 spots to 77th this year).
JPMorgan Chase (up 17 spots to 51st this year).
T.J. Maxx took a big hit a few years ago when it was found to be exaggerating it’s price savings compare to items’ regular price. It’s nice to see it back as a riser. 5 Guys’ expansion plans are going well, and Lyft is successfully competing against Uber in some major markets.
Brands Losing Loyalty:
These companies are still considered top shelf but various difficulties have cost them somewhat in terms of brand loyalty. Here are their statistics, along with some reasons for their relative fall from grace.
Airbnb (down 68 spots to 99th this year, because of quality control and reputation-based buzz).
Starbucks (down 46 spots to 63rd this year, because of a 150 store contraction taking place).
MAC Cosmetics (down 42 spots to 81st this year, due to a whiff of an animal-testing scandal).
Victoria’s Secret (down 33 spots to 93rd this year, due to a surprising fall in annual sales).
BuzzFeed (down 21 spots to 86th this year, because of an uptick by traditional news sources).
Papa John’s (down 20 spots to 70th this year, because of public relations missteps by John Schnatter).
Finally, given the decrease in the quality of air travel, Gildshire searched the list for an airline trusted by the general public. No such airline was to be found, but maybe next year.