Brands fail to engage consumers

08 November 2011

LONDON: Some 80% of brands are not regarded as beneficial to factors like health, happiness, financial security and environmental protection, a multimarket study has found.

Havas Media, the agency network, surveyed 50,000 people in 14 countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and US.

The research revealed most consumers "would not care" if 70% of brands were to "disappear", while only 20% of brands were seen as having a positive impact on shoppers' sense of wellbeing.

Respondents in Latin America proved more enthusiastic, arguing 30% of brands exerted a favourable role in their lives, totals falling to 8% in Europe and 5% in the US.

Contributors in Chile and China were found to be the most concerned with the ecological, social and ethical credentials of products when making purchase decisions, the study added.

Similarly, participants in Latin America and Asia Pacific would be disappointed if 53% of brands were no longer available, figures reaching just 18% in the US and 12% among the panel across Europe.

IKEA, the furniture retailer, Google, the online giant, Nestlé, the food group, Danone, the dairy specialist, and Leroy Merlin, the DIY chain, constituted the top five brands when ranked according to 'beneficial' assessment.

In demonstration of the complex views held by shoppers, 65% of people had a "very strong attachment" to Coca-Cola, in 20th position, but a smaller 35% thought it improved their quality of life.

Elsewhere, nearly 85% of interviewees asserted that companies should be involved in dealing with issues linked to corporate social responsibility, a 15% increase on an annual basis.

The number of people keen to "reward" these firms by buying their products rose 11% year on year, to 51%. Another 44% wanted to "punish" irresponsible operators, up from 36% in the same period.

Furthermore, a 53% majority of the sample would meet a 10% price premium to purchase goods manufactured in a responsible way, an expansion on 44% last year.

However, a modest 28% of those polled agreed brand owners are working sufficiently hard to solve social and environmental problems, and an even more restricted 20% trusted corporate communications about their activities in this area.

"In many cases, the connection between brands and consumers is either weak or broken," said Alfonso Rodes, CEO of Havas Media. "There's [a] huge opportunity for brands to reconnect with consumers by understanding their personal and shared values and enabling them to improve their daily lives."

Data sourced from Havas Media; additional content by Warc staff