Brand Authenticity

screenshot_114Authenticity in business beats product utility and innovation, across all 12 markets surveyed: Authentic characteristics such as communicating honestly about products and services (91%) and environmental impact and sustainability measures (87%) are more important to global consumers than product utility (61%), brand appeal (60%) and popularity (39%).

Three quarters of global respondents would be extremely angry if a company was found to produce food in an unsanitary way, rising to 91% in Italy and 81% in China.

recognizing not only the challenge of these expectations, but the opportunity to stake out a leadership position among global retailers, M&S in 2007 launched Plan A, a sustainability strategy which set 100 goals to reduce its social and environmental footprint over five years.

Internet revolution means that consumers are carrying a wealth of data and knowledge around with them in their pocket; they can – and will – find out what they want to about a product or a service.

Some sceptics may question it, but the fact is that ‘open communications about environmental impact and sustainability measures’ is now the second most important Authenticity Anchor and third most important overall business behavior for brands to offer their key stakeholders

the horsemeat scandal was the lack of knowledge food retailers had about where their products came from, or what was in them, and is reflected in the fact 82% of global consumers (and 89% and 88% of French and Italian consumers, respectively) value honesty about business partners and suppliers.

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Close to two thirds of global consumers would buy from a business that displays the authentic characteristics discussed on the previous pages over and above its competitors, while a similar number said they would stay loyal to this type of brand.

considerations for brand leaders, who have to keep up with emerging economies that have high demands for quality, integrity and innovation and will reward them by buying into their brand, but not necessarily closing themselves off to newer, more exciting entrants to the market.

Digging deeper into each company, it is clear that our leading brands have embraced at least one of our seven Authenticity Anchors, as we have defined them, and used them to improve business performance.

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None of its competitors have been able to match this performance, which is reflected in less than a third of global consumers believing the fast food sector is good at displaying authentic behaviors.”

…competitors have been able to match this performance, which is reflected in less than a third of global consumers believing the fast food sector is good at displaying authentic behaviors.

…“ We decided being more transparent about some things is great — not that we were not transparent at all before, but we’ve stepped it up in places where we think we can make a bigger difference, where we want people to copy us.”

...The U.S., China and Hong Kong all scored highly in this area of the Anger Meter, having seen a number of high-profile product recalls in recent years, from the General Motors safety recall in the US last year to the 2008 incident of contaminated Sanlu baby milk formula in China.

Sue Unerman explains, “Firstly, thanks to 24/7 digital news, it is much harder to avoid hearing about corporate scandals: you simply have to turn on the TV, flick to the Google News home page, or get a news alert on your phone from a newspaper app.

… The vast majority (88%) thinks it is important for businesses to communicate honestly about their environmental impact, and two thirds (67%) would be extremely angry if a company was found to be harming the environment.

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