SUMMARY: According to the Havas Meaningful Brands study “75% of brands could disappear overnight and most people wouldn’t care or could easily find a replacement. In addition, only 34% of consumers surveyed globally think companies are transparent about their commitments and promises”. This study needs context and has several flaws.
I’m a loyal Subaru owner. I have six Subarus and believe in the brand and the products. If, however, Subaru disappeared tomorrow, I would, of course, need to find a replacement because I need a car, but I would be disheartened to see them go.
When it comes to 99.9% of the products I buy at the grocery store, the opposite is true. Today my wife and I often substitute store brands for national brands to save money and because national brands haven’t done a thing to try and keep my business.
Do I trust brands? Again, most brands in grocery stores no but brands like Trek Bikes, which stands behind their products with lifetime warranties. For most brands, the only level of trust I want is a good product at a good price. When I open a pint of Haagen Dazs, I want great ice cream and don’t care about anything else.
The Havas study tells me that too many marketers believe their own marketing bullshit and don’t do enough to retain current customers. Financial analysts are always looking for “growth” and could care less if a brand makes a lot of money from steady customers every quarter. It also tells me that the state of marketing today is grave. When marketers say they are increasing social media marketing budgets but that the ROI from social media is vanity metrics rather than customer retention, something is very wrong.
The political climate in the US has led to a general feeling of mistrust of everything from big pharma right down to local retailers. A recent story I read talked about “5G marketing” and the integration of technology and branding. This is ironic because technology and consumer behavior are like oil and water: they don’t go together. Consumers hate BOTS, and when they ask a question about a product or brand on social media, they want an answer in Internet time, not 10 hours later.
I’m always skeptical of free research that makes local business headlines. Their objective is often to recruit new clients or raise their brand awareness, not provide real insights. Always challenge free research and don’t believe everything you read from a company with something to gain from white papers.