As long as a brand can make human and emotional connections that are both differentiating and believable, that will resonate with customers and create loyalty, according to Brand Keys, which has hailed the Discover Card as a leader in US credit card loyalty. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The 2013 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index surveyed 39,000 consumers aged 18 to 65, and examined 400 brands in 54 categories to determine the degrees of loyalty that consumers exhibited toward their favourite brands.

The study found that emotional engagement is the dominant driver of purchase decisions and brand loyalty. Increasing numbers of advertisements via the internet, price promotions, and discounting have triggered a tipping point in the brand world where consumers have begun to use their emotional connection with a brand as a key factor in their buying decisions.

"Discover has managed to create the highest levels of loyalty by leveraging real, emotional category values," explained Robert Passikoff, president for Brand Keys. "Consumers are actively seeking to engage with brands that understand what they expect and then actually deliver on those expectations. It doesn't matter if the category is thought to be 'rational' - as long as a brand can make human and emotional connections with their customers that are both differentiating and believable. That's what resonates for them and that's what creates loyalty."

"When we first introduced the Discover credit card in 1986 we committed ourselves to meeting the needs of cardmembers with the best possible customer service, and we still stand by that today," explained Carlos Minetti, president of consumer banking and operations for Discover. "Prioritizing customers' needs and giving them what they want is working; they connect with the brand in a way that is engaging, allowing us to strengthen our relationships and provide distinctive product features that customers want."