Brand Keys is a research company that measures brand loyalty and emotional connections to brands. For the past seven years they have conducted a study measuring consumers’ perceptions of tech brand innovation. According to the recently released report, 5,127 B2C, B2B, and D2C consumers aged 16-65 were polled to identify the top 27 most-innovative brands.

Consumers organically placed each brand into one of three innovation segments, with brands ranked according to how consumers saw a particular brand’s innovation skills meaningfully transforming their lives. “Based on consumer-identified interrelationships between the 27 brands they named, we have designated groupings: ‘Predictable Innovators,’ ‘Lifestyle Innovators,’ and ‘Mercantile Innovators,’” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president. Brands are ranked according to their ability to meet consumer expectations. Unless indicated, brands appeared on the 2018 list.

Passikoff noted, “As to this year’s survey (our 7th) I think the two most interesting findings were the ways consumers segment innovation and connect brands inside each segment, and the fact that 40% of the brands on this year’s list are new. That says a lot about how the paradigm of innovation has shifted in just one year. It also is a red flag for brands that they have to understand consumers’ emotional expectations and be more nimble getting new products and services out to the marketplace.”

The Top Five Predictable Innovators include:

  1. Amazon
  2. Apple
  3. Google
  4. Samsung
  5. IBM

The Top Five Lifestyle Innovators include:

  1. CVS Health
  2. Patagonia (new)
  3. Nike
  4. Truepic (new)
  5. Spotify

The Top Five Mercantile Innovators include:

  1. Slack
  2. Twilio
  3. Shopify (new)
  4. Instagram
  5. Square (new)

According to the report, the 2019 list makes it clear that consumers are looking for innovation that inspires. “Innovation always distinguishes between category leaders and brand followers,” said Passikoff. “Brands that want their innovation to engage consumers will have to be more nimble, inspirational, and emotional.”

 “Consumers can’t necessarily articulate what innovations they want, but they recognize it when they see it. Actually, they feel it. Old problems, new technologies, and new creative strategies lead to category transformations. According to consumers, each brand on the 2019 list has done just that,” noted Passikoff. “New – and now – is the new inspired.”


By Charlene Weisler

Lynn Leahey