Decade of the Brand! (You Figure It Out—If You Can)

“At a time when brands are struggling to differentiate from their competition and to find ways to profitably engage their customers, the changes this year serve as a bellwether for marketers.

“At a time when brands are struggling to differentiate from their competition and to find ways to profitably engage their customers, the changes this year serve as a bellwether for marketers. It will be the products and services that answer with a truly consumer-centric view of their category being a real brand based on predictive loyalty metrics, that stand to gain the most, and establish themselves as this decade’s brand leaders.”

That’s Robert Passikoff, the founder of Brand Keys, a “brand and customer loyalty and engagement consultancy.”

Brand Keys has declared this to be the “Decade of the Brand,” starting with 2010. Perhaps not surprisingly.

They’ve recently conducted the 14th annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. On that subject, Passikoff said, “Our 2009 findings predicted that value, not price, was the watchword in consumer behavior. And you can’t have the value conversation without the brand conversation, as true brands provide meaningful differentiation in a world over-run by commodities. That makes brands a surrogate for value, and more important than ever to consumers in every category. But that’s brand, real brands, not just well-known products and services or the latest celebrity-endorsed offerings that stand for nothing in consumers’ minds. It’s real brands that have reached their highest level of consequence since the 1960s.”

While we often spend our non autofieldblog hours kicking back with a slim volume of Wittgenstein, we must admit that we have absolutely no idea what any of those quotes mean.

However, it does give us the opportunity to run the list of automotive brands receiving “the highest loyalty and engagement assessments for 2010” according to the aforementioned Brand Keys survey. They are:

  1. Hyundai
  2. Toyota
  3. Subaru
  4. Ford
  5. Saab
  6. BMW 2
  7. Mercedes
  8. Audi
  9. Honda
  10. Volkswagen
  11. Kia
  12. Nissan
  13. Mitsubishi
  14. Jeep
  15. Mazda
  16. Chevrolet
  17. Volvo
  18. Chrysler
  19. GM

While there is much to be puzzled about (e.g., “It is important to note that the CLEI data is predictive of coming shifts in the consumer marketplace. This particular swing, with real brands becoming more valuable to consumers, is showing up in how they view, compare, and most importantly, but in key categories. Consumers have significantly higher expectations regarding anything where brand aspects are associated and leveragable.”), one thing stands out (two if you look at the position of Toyota, but Brand Keys notes that the survey was conducted before the whole recall avalanche, and they say that the brand has “crashed 16% in the last month,” though, again, we’re not sure what that means.)

Why is GM on the list at all? You can buy, say, a Ford Mustang, but you’re unlikely to buy a GM Chevrolet Camaro.

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