TORONTO: Canadian consumers consider authenticity to be a key factor in purchase decisions, but companies in Canada lag in delivering on this key element according to a new report.

The 2017 Authentic 100 Index, an annual international study conducted by Cohn & Wolfe, based on surveys on more than 1,400 brands with 15,000 consumers, included Canada for the first time in its measurement of seven attributes that it identified as having the most impact on consumers’ perceptions.

These included: delivering on promises; having a high-quality service or product; treating customers well; protecting customer privacy; communicating honestly; communicating in genuine and real manner; and acting with integrity.

The survey found that the majority of Canadian consumers (92%) acknowledged that if a company is authentic, it would drive a beneficial behaviour or attitude toward the brand's business.

And six in ten (60%) Canadians said they showed increased purchase interest when brands are perceived to be authentic.

That level of purchase interest is much higher than European consumers in the UK (47%), France (49%) or Germany (55%).

Conversely, only one in 10 Canadians (11 %) felt brands and companies today are ‘open and honest’ – a significantly lower level of brand authenticity perception than the US (16%) and the global average (22%).

And just 12% of Canadians thought brands stay true to their purpose and take full responsibility for their actions, compared to 26% and 25% of the global average respectively.

“The study showed that Canadians hold brands to higher standards than their peers in other western countries, yet many companies fail to deliver on consumers’ expectations,” said David Gordon, managing partner at Cohn & Wolfe Toronto.

“As the research confirms, there’s a strong link between brand authenticity and the ability to attract and retain customers and ultimately propel business growth.”

Consumers in Asian countries displayed the most positive sentiment towards brand authenticity. Figures of 43% in mainland China and 37% in India contrasted sharply with consumer cynicism in Europe where belief in brands’ authenticity was in the single digits.

Sourced from Cohn & Wolfe; additional content by WARC staff