• UK’s first Brand Loyalty Index topped by Samsung, Apple and Marmite
  • Research shows quality, consistency and price are most valued brand attribute
  • Expert tells us Brexit-related price rises could negatively affect loyalty

A first-of-its-kind research project has revealed the brands that UK consumers are most committed and loyal to, with technology giants Samsung and Apple topping the inaugural ranking. The research contains some surprises however, with Coca-Cola failing to make the top 50, while also revealing that British consumers most value heritage, quality and consistency in brands.

The UK Brand Loyalty Index was commissioned by corporate services company Sodexo Engage. It involved surveying 5,000 consumers about their thoughts on hundreds of well-known brands across a variety of sectors. The respondents were asked about their loyalty drivers, including temptation to switch brands, favouritism, frequency of use, commitment, expectations and willingness to recommend a brand. The full overall ranking (which combines all the metrics) can be viewed at the end of this article. While there are some staple British brands in the top 50 – including Waitrose, Dyson and Yorkshire Tea – the list is notable for the number of international brands.

Korean technology giant Samsung tops the list. Its high placement comes despite Samsung’s bungled reaction to the Galaxy Note 7 crisis last year (a response described as the “cardinal sin of crisis management”). Samsung’s ability to retain customer loyalty is due to multiple years of innovative, high-end technology advancements and a heavy investment in marketing, according to Sodexo Engage’s director of consumer promotions and loyalty, Chris Baldwin. “This combination led to a boom in Samsung customers, who have remained committed and loyal to the brand because of its consistently high quality,” he told World Trademark Review. “It’s important to remember that Samsung goes far beyond Galaxy, or even just phones and when they launched products following the incident, product testing was a key message in its advertising. Samsung never tried to hide the issue, which meant they retained some credibility.”

Second in the ranking is Apple, which has also faced a lukewarm response to new products in the past 12 months. The first British brand to appear in the ranking is Marmite in third-place; the yeast extract product uses the slogan “love it or hate it”, and its high placement demonstrates that consumers who “love it” really do love the brand. Another reason for Marmite’s high placement may be the lack of a serious competitor in the yeast extract product sector. As Baldwin explains, a cluttered product sector is one way that can see brand loyalty wane: “The expectations of UK consumers are ever changing and becoming increasingly high. But, these same consumers are looking for high quality and good value, all with a more skeptical eye and in a time poor environment. This means brands are being considered and compared before purchases, more now than ever before.”

The research also looked at the overall loyalty drivers that sway UK consumers to certain brands. An interesting takeaway from those results (below) is the relatively low score for ‘aligning with brand values’, demonstrating that social causes (such as those taken up by Starbucks or Dove) aren’t necessarily key in retaining or increasing brand loyalty. Furthermore, the even lower score for a brand being “eye-catching in store” shows that fancy packaging also isn’t needed for brand commitment reasons.

This is, of course, the first Brand Ranking Loyalty Index in the UK, and the results in future years will be even more interesting when year-to-year comparisons can be made. Significant changes could occur in the next couple of years as the UK goes through the seismic shift of leaving the European Union. Predicting how that could affect brand loyalty is difficult, however. There is some evidence that those who voted to leave the EU are becoming more loyal to British brands, such as one recent poll claiming “one in five people say they are more likely to buy British food after Brexit because they want to support the domestic economy”. On the flip-side, there is also evidence that European consumers are now less willing to buy British goods (3.7 million EU citizens live in the UK).

For Baldwin, the key issue that brands must consider is the willingness of consumers to stick to branded products in the event of Brexit-related price rises. “Certain brands are beginning to consider the impact that Brexit will have on their product offering in the UK and there is already talk of some price hikes by the time the item hits the shelves,” he explains. “Attracting consumers to brands now and for the long term will help to avoid a drop in purchases if price increases are unavoidable. For brands faced with this realistic possibility, generating loyalty must be the focus.”

Looking at the brands in the top 10 of the rankings, Apple, Marmite, Heinz, and Kellogg’s have already implemented price rises since the Brexit vote. These price changes matter for UK consumers; as the table above shows, “good value for money” is the third highest consideration for brand loyalty. Therefore, if there are more price increases, brands may need to highlight other values to keep UK consumers on board.

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Top 50 brands which UK consumers show the highest level of loyalty and commitment to:

Rank

Brand

Sector

1

Samsung

Technology

2

Apple

Technology

3

Marmite

Food

4

Dyson

Technology

5

Heinz

Food

6

Sky TV

Technology

7

Oral B

Household & Personal Care

8

Gillette

Household & Personal Care

9

Kelloggs

Food

10

Netflix

Technology

11

Amazon Prime

Technology

12

Bosch

Technology

13

Nescafe

Drink

14

Sony

Technology

15

Dove

Household & Personal Care

16

O2

Technology

17

Cadburys

Food

18

Andrex

Household & Personal Care

19

Panasonic

Technology

20

Walkers

Food

21

Sensodyne

Household & Personal Care

22

Nivea

Household & Personal Care

23

Yorkshire Tea

Drink

24

Ariel

Household & Personal Care

25

Head & Shoulders

Household & Personal Care

26

Cathedral City

Food

27

M&S Food

Supermarkets

28

L'Oréal

Household & Personal Care

29

Olay

Household & Personal Care

30

Guiness

Drink

31

Galaxy

Food

32

Jack Daniels

Drink

33

Pepsi

Drink

34

Twinings

Drink

35

Aldi

Supermarkets

36

Tesco

Supermarkets

37

Gordons

Drink

38

Sainsbury's

Supermarkets

39

Waitrose

Supermarkets

40

Ben & Jerry's

Food

41

Lidl

Supermarkets

42

Innocent

Drink

43

Stella Artois

Drink

44

Häagen-Dazs

Food

45

Morrisons

Supermarkets

46

Peroni

Drink

47

Iceland

Supermarkets

48

Asda

Supermarkets

49

Thornton's

Food

50

Co-operative

Supermarkets