SOURCE: Brand Informatics

September 17, 2007 07:00 ET

Brand Informatics Delivers First Objective Measures of Customer Connection and Its Effect on Loyalty

New Company Delivers First BrandScape™ Report, Targets the Consumer Financial Services Market

RESTON, VA--(Marketwire - September 17, 2007) - Brand Informatics, an early-stage business information services firm that enables companies to measure the connection they have with customers, today announced the release of its initial BrandScape™ Report on Customer Connection. This report provides the first objective Connection rankings of the nation's leading consumer financial services (CFS) companies.

Brand Informatics' initial report provides CFS companies with objective, quantified insight into Customer Connection, how to build it and, as a result, how it creates loyalty, premium pricing power and competitive advantage. Because this information is objective and actionable, it can be used to support strategic business decisions, positioning, customer relationship and experience management, new product and service development, sales and marketing programs, and, ultimately, shareholder value creation. The report covers 38 leading companies within the CFS market, including the sub-verticals of investment, insurance, retail banking, specialty lending and consumer credit.

Brand Informatics was founded by CEO, Scott Magids and President and Chief Analyst, Alan Zorfas, proven startup and marketing executives with decades of experience working with major corporations. This experience gave them insight into the growing, unmet need of companies for information that would give them greater understanding and control of Customer Connection.

Background

Many of the ways companies have sought superior loyalty, pricing power and competitive advantage in past years are becoming commoditized and easily replicable, leaving companies to seek new ways to compete, differentiate and stimulate top-line growth. Brand awareness was once a source of distinction, but during the past half century with the proliferation of mass media outlets, building awareness is now a minimum requirement for companies, not a differentiator. In the late 1960s and early 1970s companies embraced customer satisfaction as a source of differentiation and superior growth in loyalty. Initiatives like Total Quality Management led to breakthrough improvements in service, reliability, quality, and product performance. CFS companies and others have built their reputations around satisfaction. However, customer satisfaction -- while important -- is now a cost of entry in the customer experience. Companies are realizing that Customer Connection is the new pathway to achieving breakthroughs in loyalty and organic growth.

"Companies want to manage the depth and value of the emotional relationship they have with their customers but, until now, there has been no reliable way to measure it," said Magids. "It's clear from the reception we've received from our first customers that there is an immense need in the CFS market to better understand, measure, benchmark, and manage Customer Connection. Brand Informatics helps them do just that."

What is Customer Connection?

Customer Connection is a measure of the emotions and sentiments customers feel about a brand and that brand's products and services, that transcends tangible features and benefits. In past years, a small number of iconic firms like Starbucks, Apple, Nike and Disney have successfully built deep emotional customer relationships that go beyond satisfaction. Connection is now becoming a more critical initiative, and a growing number of companies are seeking to leverage it for competitive advantage.

An April 2007 study, independently commissioned and funded by Brand Informatics, of 12,000 U.S. customers of 80 diverse brands across 20 industries, found that Customer Connection drives higher loyalty than customer satisfaction alone. While many measures of customer satisfaction exist in the marketplace, until now, there has been no standardized, objective and comparative measurement of Connection. Brand Informatics provides the benchmarks, a strategic pathway, insights and actionability required to understand and manage those feelings of attachment called Customer Connection.

"We recognize the massive information void that exists in business that prevents companies from building deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers," said Zorfas. "Executive officers are demanding accountability across all segments of their companies, and our information, for the first time, brings penetrating insight to the executive suite in regards to Customer Connection and its relationship to loyalty and pricing power. This level of actionable, objective data was simply not available until now."

Customer Connection Model™ and Industry BrandScape Reports

Brand Informatics has worked with research professionals, social scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, marketing services experts, software developers and select Fortune 1000 companies to create its Customer Connection Model™ -- a patent-pending architecture spanning data collection, proprietary analysis and insightful reporting. The April 2007 study validated the model and proved it serves as a reliable strategic pathway for improving customer loyalty and premium pricing -- two keys for generating organic growth and profitability. This model generates the data for the company's CFS BrandScape Reports, which provide companies meaningful, comparative, and easy-to-use Connection scores, industry benchmarks, and insights into building Connection within an industry. These quarterly reports are now available on an annual subscription basis.

To maintain its objectivity, Brand Informatics self funds all of its syndicated studies. The company's research is based solely on independently collected responses from tens of thousands of customers of brands every quarter. Brand Informatics also provides companies proprietary Customer Connection information about their brands and the brands of their competitors. Availability and pricing is available through the company.

About Brand Informatics

Brand Informatics (www.brandinformatics.com) is a business information services firm that helps companies understand and build Customer Connection. With its patent-pending methodology, Brand Informatics is the first company to offer objective, relative and actionable measures of Customer Connection, enabling subscribers to understand and benchmark how customers connect with an organization. The company's quarterly BrandScape™ Reports, first available to the consumer financial services market, measure Customer Connection for dozens of leading brands.

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