Are brands out of touch with consumers?

A recent survey showed that 69% of Americans said business leaders do not understand the challenges they face in their life, the highest percentage of any country. Americans of all ages, incomes, and political leanings believe corporate America is headed in the wrong direction. They also want to buy from, invest in, and work for companies they consider to be just, and they consider employment issues to be the primary determinant of whether a company is just. 

Starbucks has increased the price for its coffee, but there are still lines at most locations.  Why are customers so willing to fork over more of their hard earned money?  Because Starbucks treats their employees so well most people are willing to pay a little extra so that their employees can get good health care.  However, some brands are having trouble because they are seen as only caring about profits, not customers.

Brands today have to be “socially responsible” and transparent because social media is just waiting for them to make a mistake .  One innocent misjudgment can torpedo a great marketing campaign, especially if your mistake goes viral.  Consumers are angry and they are just waiting for big corporate brands to jump over the line so they can crucify them in public.

When it comes to implementing marketing programs too many marketers forget that all marketing today is a closed loop and that the real power of consumers keeps on increasing with their anger.  Brands that put people above profits are going to win because your own employees are the best brand ambassadors you can have.  However, treat your people as expendable assets and your brand is in deep trouble.  Believe it or not, consumers are willing to pay more for brans that, they believe, are socially responsible.  Will brands get that message?

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