In January 2015, Brand Keys published its 'Customer Loyalty Engagement Index' (CLEI) report and its 'Customer Loyalty Engagement Index', which ranked the top brands that US consumers felt were the most emotionally engaging. But as with all lists, there's not only a top ten but a bottom ten as well. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

While the most engaging brands - seen by consumers as best meeting their expectations - included Dunkin', Hyundai, Apple, Netflix, AT&T, Amazon, Chipotle, and Discover, Brand Keys has now released the official 'Bottom Ten, Least Engaging Brands' list for 2015.

"The brands at the bottom of their respective categories were unable to meet the high emotional expectations that consumers bring with them to the marketplace and to the brand engagement process," said Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys. "You can't hide those results. They not only show up in the marketplace and on profit-loss statements, but in how consumers see the brands and how they feel about the brands."

The list of the ten least engaging brands included (beginning with the brand with the lowest emotional engagement as compared to their own category's ideal of 100%):

  1. Blackberry (25%, down another 26% from 2014)
  2. Radio Shack (34%)
  3. Blockbuster On Demand (37%)
  4. Kobo (40%)
  5. Sears (42%, down another 22% from 2014)
  6. Tylenol (46%)
  7. McDonald's (49%)
  8. Abercrombie & Fitch (50%)
  9. Coty Cosmetics (53%, down another 18% from 2014)
  10. Budweiser (58%)

"Independent validations have proven that brands that better meet consumer expectations always see better consumer behaviour toward the brand and should axiomatically, result in greater sales and profits," said Passikoff. "But the reverse is equally true. No brand on the 'Least Engaging List" is making money or growing share or making profits or creating any reasonable level of emotional engagement with their customers."

Brand Keys' research uses an approach that fuses emotional and rational aspects of the categories, identifies the four behavioural drivers for the category-specific 'Ideal,' and identifies the values that form the components of each driver. The Ideal describes the precise path-to-purchase drivers, describing how the consumer will view the category, compare brands, and how they will engage with the brand, buy, and remain loyal. (Drivers are category-specific since consumers don't buy Smartphones in the same way they buy Cosmetics or Pizzas.) The assessments measure how well brands meet expectations that consumers hold for each driver that makes up the Ideal for a specific category.