Consumer influence on brands has grown over five years

Weber Shandwick’s report The Company Behind The Brand II: In Goodness We Trust shows that 68% of consumers and 59% of executives believe brands are influenced by consumer opinion more than they were five years ago.

The report, which conducted an online survey of 2,100 consumers and 1,050 senior executives across 21 markets worldwide, shows that 86% of global consumers believe they are a powerful force in influencing companies today and 91% of executives agree.

Consumers think the most effective ways to do this are through reader reviews (59%), information sharing (56%) and buying from or boycotting companies (48%).

Executives are even more likely to feel that companies are affected by sharing information (68%), reading and writing consumer reviews (67%) and boycotting (57%).

Consumer discussions are dominated by what’s “good for them”

While, unsurprisingly, 50% of the consumers in the report are most likely to discuss or share information about customer service from companies they also want assurance that a brand will ‘assure’ their overall sense of well-being and emotional connection.

The top topics consumers discuss or share information about regularly include; how healthy or good company products and services are (47%), how they feel about the products/services from companies (47%), how safe company products/services are (42%) and how honest and ethical companies are (40%).

According to the report, the good news is that executives sampled in the survey report that, for the most part, their companies are promoting the same topics consumers are having discussions about, including how healthy/good their products or services are for their consumers.

Micho Spring, chair of global practice at Weber Shandwick, said: “One of the more frequent conversations we are having with our clients today is how can a company keep itself and its reputation from harm? As our new study shows, preparedness must be approached from two angles.

“First, ensure that the organisation, not just its products and services, is purposeful — good for all its stakeholders, external and internal, as well as society. Second, when a company derails from its mission of good, how it then reacts is at the centre of its reputation, which requires thorough preparedness and a distinctive culture of common values.”

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