Survey Reveals America's Ten Least Engaging Brands

Posted on May 9, 2016

This is an annual list you don't want to make if you are a major brand. Brand Keys has revealed the findings of its 2016 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI). The study reveals the 10 least-engaging brands.

The brands are ranked in reverse order with the brand having the lowest emotional engagement strength at No. 1. Volkswagen had the unfortunate position ranking No. 1. Blackberry had the lowest ranking for a tech brand as its smartphones have not been as popular lately. Some low ranking retail brands included Aeropostale, Sears, Sports Authority and Whole Foods.

  1. Volkswagen (29%)
  2. Blackberry (30%)
  3. American Apparel (38%)
  4. Cosi (39%)
  5. Aeropostale (41%)
  6. Sears (42%)
  7. kobo (43%)
  8. Budweiser (49)%
  9. Sports Authority (50%)
  10. Whole Foods (53%)

Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, says on the statement, "The fundamental reason these brands were rated so low for consumer engagement is because they were unable to meet the very high - and ever-growing - emotional expectations consumers bring to the marketplace. These are the critical values consumers use to compare brand options when they shop. If you do poorly, consumer displeasure not only shows up on the list but harshly in the real-world marketplace. And shortly thereafter on profit-loss statements."

Brands Key says Volkswagen's low engagement score is linked to its "rigged pollution control debacle" and Whole Foods is on the list for its price rigging incidents and " high degrees of corporate hubris."

Some of the brands that were on the list last year but managed to climb out of the worst ten this year include McDonald's, Abercrombie & Fitch, Tylenol and Coty. Brand Keys interviewed 42,792 consumers for the survey. 70% of them were interviewed by phone, 25% through face-to-face interviews and 5% were interviewed online.

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