Consumer expectations are higher than ever, and in an age of greater transparency and oversight, companies can no longer say one thing and do another. We expect organisations to be authentic and to have a point of view on the relevant topics that matter most and back up their words with action. If they fail to do so, trust will quickly erode and customers will move elsewhere.
Campaigns such as Extinction Rebellion have driven climate change even higher up the global agenda, while issues around data security and privacy continue to concern us all. At the same time, our attitudes are driven by a greater emphasis on societal purpose and intense scrutiny from the media. In the UK, 80 per cent of consumers are prepared to stop using the products and services of a brand if its response to an issue does not support their personal views.
This sort of insight is at the heart of our Authenticity Gap Report. This year, our research once again highlights the big issues that concern consumers and the ways companies can respond. It shows that amidst a rapidly changing external environment, organisations must be willing to listen, engage and act – or risk losing out to competitors who do.
At FleishmanHillard Fishburn, we have been studying authenticity since 2012 and our TRUE Global Intelligence team has gathered unique insights into the emerging opportunities and threats facing some of the world’s most familiar companies and brands.
What is clear from our study, is that no organisation can afford to have their brand and reputation divided and they must be managed together as one. Organisations must be authentic in all aspects of their communications, from brand marketing and product promotion, to corporate communications, sustainability, and employee engagement. Failure to do so not only risks organisations isolating their audiences, but becoming obsolete compared to their competitors.