In a consumer-driven world, companies feel compelled to develop and improve relationships with their customers. So what is it exactly that we want from brands? The Customer Quotient (CQ) study sets out to answer this question.

Customer Quotient (CQ) refers to the capacity of a company, or brand, to win customer trust and appreciation. In other words, CQ is a measure of how people feel about brands.

The report, from marketing consultancy C Space, describes and measures five attributes that consumers value in a brand: openness, relevance, empathy, experience and emotion. The data was collected from around 20,000 people.

A brand’s performance on these measures is linked to its business performance, so even a slight increase in CQ score can translate into revenue for companies, the report explains.

The table below highlights the brands that consumers feel respect them:

These are the most respected companies by consumers
Image: World Economic Forum

REI, the outdoor clothing and gear co-operative, was ranked the brand with the highest CQ overall. It was noted for its #OptOutside campaign when it closed all stores on Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year, and encouraged customers and employees alike to go outdoors instead.

Wegmans and Marriott scored highly in terms of customer experience, with the report suggesting that high CQ scores in this area were the result of consistent high quality and commitment to service from all employees, regardless of role or level.

Trader Joe’s and Publix were praised for managing to connect with their customers on a personal level.

Beauty industry brands Dove and Olay achieved high scores for openness. These brands were viewed as authentic and believable in their messaging and communications, the report said.

Finally, H-E-B and Chick-fil-A received strong marks for empathy. The study suggests that consumers felt these brands internalized their needs and preferences throughout the organization, consciously adopting the customer’s point of view.

Surprisingly, four of the top 10 brands were grocery stores; maybe because they are such a fundamental part of people’s lives and everyday routines.

The report also evaluated industries, and the table below ranks them according to how well they are communicating and responding to customer demands.

Image: C Space