Strong customer brand loyalty is the holy grail of marketing.
Some companies have it figured out. Others are, well, still working on it. Indeed, even those that have high brand loyalty must continue to work on it – or run the risk of becoming yesterday’s news.
Because Santander Consumer USA is a big company – and a business unit of global banking leader Banco Santander of Spain – we notice things like customer loyalty to top brands. That includes brands such as Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, IBM and Microsoft, which boast the strongest loyalty worldwide, according to Interbrand global marketing consultants’ annual list of the 100 most valuable brands.
And because we are primarily an auto lender, we particularly notice brand loyalty in the automotive industry, such as No. 8 on this year’s list, Toyota, the highest ranking automobile manufacturer.
Other companies from the auto industry and their rankings are: Mercedes-Benz (10), BMW (11), Honda (20), Volkswagen (31), Ford (39), Hyundai (40), Audi (45), Nissan (56), Porsche (60), Kia (74), Chevrolet (82) and Land Rover (91), all of which, except Honda, improved their rankings from 2013.
(Meanwhile, our parent company, Santander, came in No. 75 in Interbrand’s worldwide ranking.)
And how does Toyota inspire brand loyalty among its customers?
“By balancing passion for performance with a love for the planet – and by treating customers like guests,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor Sales’ vice president of marketing, in an Interbrand interview. “Brand leadership is a measure of relationship and loyalty between a company and its guest. How you build that personal relationship and how strong it is determines customer loyalty.”
An example of what drives Toyota’s brand loyalty is a Cars.com ranking of 15 new car models that are both reliable and affordable, which appear on our SCUSA corporate blog. Two thirds of those almost worry-free vehicles, 10 in all, are Toyota products, which includes Lexus. Three others are products of Honda, which held fast at No. 20 in the Interbrand rankings.
Of course, Santander Consumer USA cannot aspire to the global rankings because we are not global.
But, as part of a company that does make the top 100, we aspire to nothing less than creating loyal customers for our indirect Santander Auto Finance and direct RoadLoans auto finance brands.
“We will do what is necessary to achieve more-stable, more-lasting relationships with the customer,” Ana Botín, chairwoman of Banco Santander said recently, then added, “The best measure of success is when, in every country where we are present, our customers recommend us.”
That’s an aspiration and a measure of success that every company can have – large or small.