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Consumers to brands: “You mean nothing to me”
A recent survey found that consumers feel 70% of the brands in their lives could disappear without them caring.
There’s something slightly self-serving about the MPG/Havas Media’s ‘Meaningful Brands Survey’ since it seems to be designed to support an existing business position. But the numbers are impressive—14 countries, 300 brands, 50,000 consumers via online panels—and so is the fact that, for the second year running, they found that customers wouldn’t care if 70% of brands disappeared. The rest of the data seem to be in line with this: 85% of consumers worldwide expect companies to become actively involved in solving social and environmental issues, but only 28% think that companies are working hard to solve the big social and environmental challenges. Similarly, 72% of consumers trust companies more if they produce responsible goods, but only 20% trust companies when they communicate about their social/environmental commitments and initiatives.
In other words, there’s a big gap between the talk and the walk—and one which opens up positioning opportunities for brands who think they can walk it as well as talk it. Indeed, we talked about the way companies can use sustainability and environmental issues to disrupt markets in our recent Future Perspective, How to Sustain Sustainability. But there’s a bigger risk here for brands: as the media world which maintained them in the second half of the 20th century crumbles into social media, they will need clear and positive values as well as advertising dollars to connect with their customers.