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In Ranking Brand Engagement, Delighting Consumers Continues to Be Key to Brand Connection

Posted: February 9, 2012

The discovery of a "Decade of Delight," which describes consumers' key brand expectations, was the critical finding in last year's annual Brand Keys report. This year, Brand Keys’ Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) report, conducted by the New York-based brand and customer loyalty and engagement consultancy, offered continued mounting evidence that it is indeed delight that defines the consumer relationship with brands in the beauty/personal care products category.

For all 50 brands tracked in the report’s beauty/personal care products category, attributes relating to self-image and brand image are exerting the strongest impact on customer decision-making, category-expectations and engagement with brands.

While expectation levels for delight vary by category, brands in the category that were best at creating customer delight are:

“Consumer expectations have been accelerating for some time,” said Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys. “Many industry pundits have looked at the pressures on price and drew the erroneous conclusion that brands have lost their value. Quite the opposite is true. Real brands are more valuable than ever. We need only look to the continuing success of luxury brands as evidence. Brands that lack meaningful differentiation are being punished by the economic and behavioral shifts, becoming ‘category placeholders’ because consumers do not look for commodities in their search for delight.”

As Consumers Change, Categories Change—Brands Must Change

“Brand Keys’ CLEI data predicts emerging trends in the consumer marketplace. Every category we can compare to last year shows a rise in either the importance of or increased expectations when it comes to the brand-based attributes that most strongly impact the customer experience. In short, things that generate delight”, noted Passikoff. “Given the levels of commoditization we’ve witnessed in product/services and pricing/promotion strategies, it’s no surprise consumers are looking to strong brands to offer a difference. Consumers know the brands, know what they do, and know what they’re willing to pay. Satisfaction has never been more cost-of-entry while delight is the new differentiator.”