Building brands that matter: The sweet spot between trust and dynamism

Think about all the companies that populate our planet – and about the enormous proliferation of brands and products over the past few decades. Unilever alone sells goods under more than 1,000 brand names worldwide. Look for an Android phone on the Samsung website, and you have to scroll through 86 model options. Search for a flash drive on Amazon, and you'll be hit with more than 180,000 choices.

How do you get your brand to stand out? How do you convince a person to grab your product off the shelf (real or virtual) rather than the lower-priced one beside it? It has never been an easy task, but it is made vastly more complicated today by the unfettered access consumers have to information. Thanks to the Internet, they are able to pull back the curtain and expose the ordinary man behind the "wizard" – gleaning as much detail as they would like about provenance and materials/ingredients used and even the advertising pushes involved. More than that, they have access to information about the business behind the brand – how it treats its workers, suppliers, local communities, and the planet. Havas Worldwide's latest research shows that more than 8 in 10 leading-edge Prosumers and 6 in 10 mainstream consumers know more these days about the companies that make the products and services they use. A majority of Prosumers have actively researched the reputation or ethics of a company in recent months. And when people find something they don't like, they have ways of expressing their dissatisfaction: 85 percent of Prosumers and 67 percent of the mainstream are convinced they have more power today to punish a company they perceive as behaving badly.

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