Automobile brands aren’t inspiring much loyalty in Canadian buyers, according to new research from Bond Brand Loyalty.
Bond surveyed 2,000 Canadians who were asked about their current vehicle, and what they plan to purchase next.
Only 29% of Canadians said they were “very satisfied” with their current vehicles, and 51% were “satisfied.” Asian automotive brands had the highest level of satisfaction, followed by European, and then North American brands. Half of Canadians said they would choose a different automobile brand the next time they’re in the market for a new vehicle.
“We all know that it’s a lot more efficient and less costly to keep a customer rather than to find a new one,” Kyle Davies, director of marketing research at Bond Brand Loyalty. “And so the fact that, on average, automotive companies are only keeping 50% of their customers speaks to a huge opportunity for improvement in the industry.”
Paul McCallum, vice-president of automotive at Bond Brand Loyalty, said it was critical for auto brands to create an emotional attachment with consumers. The study found 40% of automotive loyalty was based on product and service components, and emotional factors drive 31% of customer loyalty.
“If you consider that the vehicle and service are table stakes and that you need to be as good as your competitors, the differentiation is going to happen when you create an emotional connection,” said McCallum. The other loyalty drivers are brand personality (17%) and needs fulfillment (12%).
The lead indicators of an emotional connection are: confident, angry (lack of anger), proud and happy. “Creating an environment where someone is proud of the vehicle they own, happy to talk about it and confident that it’s going to be the right solution for them is wonderful and it drives a great percentage of their overall relationship with the vehicle,” said McCallum.
The study used Bond’s telemetry methodology, which has been applied across a number of different industries and was inspired by Formula One racing. In FI, the cars have hundreds of sensors that constantly send information back to the pit crew, so they can make adjustments at the next pit stop.
“It’s designed to measure different inputs to give marketers an understanding of how well their brand is doing in relation to competitive brands, and what things they can tweak to make their brand a half second per lap faster,” said Davies.
Bond’s “Canadian Automotive Brand Telemetry Report” can be downloaded here.