To Restore Value Exchange Brands Must Invite Consumers to Participate in Meaningful Ways, Have Purpose at the Center of Sharing Activities

Edelman’s second annual brandshare study revealed brands are failing to develop mutually beneficial relationships with consumers. Two-thirds (66 percent) consider these relationships to be one-sided with limited value and a vast majority (70 percent) of global consumers believe the only reason brands share with them is a self-centered desire to increase profits.

The study found that 87 percent of people across 12 countries want meaningful interactions with brands, yet only 17 percent of people think brands do it well.

“Consumers are sharing content and information about themselves, making purchases and recommending brands, but don’t feel they are getting much in return,” said Michelle Hutton, global chair of Consumer Marketing, Edelman. “Consumer expectations have become much higher for brands and people expect to get more out of these relationships than they’re currently receiving.”

The study revealed that in order to drive positive action, brands must now satisfy three types of consumer needs: rational, emotional and societal.

Behaviors most likely to spur consumers to purchase, recommend and defend brands are ones that correlate most strongly with their combined emotional and rational needs. People are seeking greater responsiveness, participation and involvement from brands. More than three quarters (78 percent) say it’s important for brands to respond quickly to their concerns and complaints, while 68 percent want brands to communicate openly and transparently about their supply chain and just over half (52 percent) want to be part of the development and refinement process.

Societal needs, which the study uncovered as a newly emerged consumer need state, extend beyond traditional definitions of corporate responsibility and sustainability. Brands must share their conviction and ensure consumers see they have a clear purpose and vision for the future and that they are using their resources to drive change in the world. Societal needs are vital to unlocking sharing behavior, which increases the likelihood of consumers sharing personal information and brand content.

When all three need states are met simultaneously, the impact is an 11 percent lift, on average, on consumer actions such as purchase (8 percent), defend (10 percent), recommend (12 percent), sharing personal information (11 percent) and sharing branded content (12 percent).

“Meeting the rational and emotional needs of consumers is vital to repairing the broken value exchange between consumer and brand, but it’s not enough,” said Ben Boyd, president of practices, sectors and offerings. “Their societal needs have to be met as well. And when that occurs, there is a quantifiable impact on the relationship between brand and consumer as well as the brand’s bottom line.”

Effective value exchange requires conviction and commitment from brands, storytelling and story-sharing and for brands to be always on and always adapting.

“This requires an alignment of your marketing and corporate communications functions to ensure that your story is heard and shared properly amongst consumers,” said Jen Cohan, president, Edelman, New York. “Brands need to invite people to actively participate in ways that are meaningful to them and they must realign traditional silos including customer service with your marketing strategy.”

For more information, contact:
Michael Bush