Brand Experience Reaches New Heights as Consumers Search for Innovation

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For all 48 beauty brands tracked, attributes relating to "experience" and "authentic innovation" in products and services are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making, category-expectations, and engagement with brands.

Brand Keys, a research consultancy that specializes in customer loyalty by examining brand-equity measures to predict future consumer behavior, conducted its 15th annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) survey, and found that, for all 48 beauty brands tracked, attributes relating to "experience" and "authentic innovation" in products and services are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making, category-expectations, and engagement with brands.

The beauty brands that were best at creating customer delight were: Lancôme, Mary Kay, Elizabeth Arden, Clairol, L'Oréal, Aveda, and Suave.

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"This evolution has been accelerating for some time," said Robert Passikoff, founder and president, Brand Keys. "Brand value has increasingly been defined, not through the narrow lens of price, but in terms of the total experience that consumers have when they interact with a given brand. This year's results demonstrate that concept has truly taken hold, showing its greatest increase in expectations in the purchase drivers centered on attributes that most strongly impact customers' overall experience."

Consumers Change, Categories Change—Brands Must Change Too

"The CLEI data is predictive of coming shifts in the consumer marketplace 12 to 18 months before it shows up in traditional research," said Passikoff. "Given the levels of commoditization we've witnessed in product/service delivery and pricing/promotion strategies, it is no surprise consumers are looking for their favorite brands to make a real difference. Consumers know the brands, know what they do and know what they're willing to pay for them. They're looking for delight.

"Innovation is key, whether it's innovation in the products themselves or innovation in how those products are put into the hands of consumers (from rapid delivery to product introductions) and the after-life of service and support that the consumer experiences. And, consumers want meaningful innovation that results in a higher level of experience. Satisfaction has never been more cost-of-entry; delight is the new differentiator."

Consumers' skyrocketing desire for experience and authentic innovation are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making and profitable engagement with the brand. Brands able to meet or exceed these expectations become category leaders.

2011 Beauty Brand Loyalty and Engagement Rankings

Cosmetics (Luxury)

  1. Lancôme
  2. Estée Lauder
  3. Clinique
  4. Chanel
  5. Shiseido
  6. Cosmetics
  7. Mary Kay
  8. Maybelline
  9. Covergirl
  10. L'Oréal
  11. Max Factor/Sephora
  12. Revlon
  13. Avon/Neutrogena
  14. Almay
  15. Rimmel
  16. Coty

Facial Moisturizers (Luxury)

  1. Elizabeth Arden
  2. Lancôme
  3. Clarins
  4. Clinique
  5. Estée Lauder
  6. Chanel/Shiseido

Facial Moisturizers

  1. Mary Kay
  2. L'Oréal
  3. Avon
  4. Ponds
  5. Nivea/Oil of Olay
  6. Neutrogena

Hair Color

  1. Clairol/L'Oréal
  2. Garnier
  3. Revlon

Hair Conditioners

  1. Aveda
  2. Neutrogena/Pantene
  3. Herbal Essences/L'Oréal
  4. Garnier/Suave

Hair Shampoos

  1. Suave
  2. Herbal Essences
  3. Garnier/Pantene
  4. Dove
  5. L'Oréal

The complete listing of the 79 category rankings can be found at www.brandkeys.com/awards.