20 brands with the most loyal customers

PHOTO: 20 brands with the most loyal customers

Although companies spend billions each year to try to make their brands resonate with consumers, few ever end up with truly fanatic customers.

But the perks are huge for those who do. Loyal customers consistently come back to buy more, they're more willing to stay despite increases in price and they become strong advocates for the brand in their own social circles and online.

Through a combination of psychological assessments and statistical analyses of customers, Brand Keys - a research firm devoted to consumer behaviour metrics - determines how much brands exceed what consumers expect, and how loyal they will be down the road.

20 brands with the most loyal customers

  • Social networks make their debut as a category in Brand Keys' study this year, and Twitter comes in at #2 in the industry.
  • 2010 rank: #38

    LG is one of three cell or smartphone brands in the top 20, and its cell brand was the only to make the top 100.

  • 2010 rank: #31

    Those who use L'Oreal's hair colour products are much more loyal than buyers of its other products. L'Oreal's cosmetics line ranked only 7th place in its industry.

  • 2010 rank: #14

    Ketel One came in as the #3 liquor brand and #2 in vodka. Branding - and the ability to differentiate - is particularly important in a busy competitive environment like the vodka industry.

  • 2010 rank: #11

    Google is the top search engine on the list, easily beating out both Bing (#30) and Yahoo! (#71).

  • 2010 rank: #4

    The strength of the Bacardi-owned premium vodka brand shines again in 2011, but dropping 11 spots from last year.

  • 2010 rank: #16

    The L'Oreal-owned Maybelline clocks in at #2 in cosmetics, far ahead of its parent company's cosmetics brand.

  • 2010 rank: #3

    The world's largest retailer once again beats out Target and Kmart in the discount retail category, though it drops 10 spots overall.

  • 2010 rank: #14

    Dunkin's coffee drinkers are far more loyal than Starbucks', who improved from #452 to #100.

  • Crest Whitestrips wins in the debut of the new tooth whitener category, ahead of the Five Minute Speed Whitening System and Rembrandt Whitening.
  • 2010 rank: #20

    Mary Kay is the top cosmetics brand on the index. It has been making skin-care and cosmetics products since the 1960's, and has remained resilient despite numerous controversies.

  • The premium tequila brand checks in as the highest liquor brand on the index. The other tequila brands that made it into the top 100 are: Don Julio (#29), Sauza (#41) and Jose Cuervo (#81).
  • In another new category, Amazon's Kindle ranks as the top e-reader, though Barnes & Noble's Nook (#52) also debuts in the top 100.
  • 2010 rank: #6

    It's an impressive long-term turnaround for Hyundai, the only auto brand in the top 20. Its re-branding from cheap to premium has been no easy feat to pull off.

  • Though Amazon bought the company out in 2009, Zappos was allowed to stay an independent entity and kept its branding. Its loyal consumer base stayed.
  • 2010 rank: #5

    Apple's Mac brand maintains its spot at #5 in this year's rankings, supporting its infamously loyal fan base.

  • Samsung's cell phones come in #1 in the category - a ranking they're used to, having held that title for the past eight years on the index.
  • Mark Zuckerberg's network debuts on the list this year having surpassed 750 million active users.
  • 2010 rank: #1

    Apple's iPhone drops out of the number one spot, but not far, still giving Apple two separate rankings within the top five.

  • 2010 rank: #7

    One of three online retailers in the top 100, Jeff Bezos' mammoth online retailer has long thrived on its loyal droves of customers, using its brand and ability to offer lower shipping rates to keep customers coming back.