I'm doing a mini tour of Texas this week having just left Austin and tomorrow I present some of our findings from Edelman's 2014 global study, Brandshare, in Dallas (full report here). The last time I talked about Brandshare, I focused on the macro theme of the report—that consumers indicated brands aren't living up to their side of the relationship when it comes to the value exchange that exists (or doesn't) with brands. The important context here is that we are talking about the relationship beyond the transactions (consumer buys product or services and "consumes"—rinse and repeat).
We tested fourteen behaviors brands could act upon as part of their relationship with consumers and surveyed fifteen thousand consumers across twelve countries to tell us what they thought was most important to them. Three key themes emerged in what they told us and for brands, it's worth taking stock on how you perform against these areas.
78% of the respondents we surveyed indicated that responding quickly to concerns and complaints was important to them. In fact this was the number one most sought after behavior based on the questions we asked. And we think it goes beyond and concerns and complaints really and indicates that consumers are demanding that brands be more responsive to their needs. This could be fueled by an "on demand" mentality we are developing based on how we use technology. When we want something we can get it at the click of a button or swipe of a screen. It ma makes ense that consumers would expect brands to behave the way their technology and media does.
68% of the respondents we s surveyed told us they think it's important for brands to communicate openly and transparently about how their products are sourced and made. They also value brands who give them many ways to ask and give opinions. In short they want to be involved. They want to know what you're doing, why you're doing it and they even want to be able to ask questions and give opinions while you're doing it. These round out the top three performing behaviors in terms of importance to behaviors. But there's more...
58% of respondents told us that brands having a clear mission and purpose is important to them while 52% want to see brands use their resources to drive change in the world. This rounds out the top five out of the fourteen behaviors we asked consumers questions about. We interpret this as consumers seeking a real conviction from brands—a guiding "north star" which is core to how they operate. This finding if brands take to heart will act as a catalyst to re-examine their core values and determine if it makes sense to expand their remit by re-prioritizing how generous they are with their resources.
In short, they only way we can interpret the data is by evaluating the performance of the behaviors we asked consumers about. The above represent the top five base on what we asked them. It's worth noting that in each of these behaviors, brands are underperforming according to how respondents answered. From our perspective in this snapshot of time (2014) consumers are telling us that they increasingly value how quickly brands respond to their needs, how they can participate in the decisions brands make and the actions they take, and want to see brands stand for something that's true to who they are at the core.