I recently attended a networking event run by the IPM. The idea was to help get the network juices going by starting the morning with a series of perspectives on some current business issues. At first glance these perspectives seemed rather disparate: getting ready for GDPR; the role of Influencers; brand loyalty; and the revival of postal marketing.
And yet as the networking began it became clear that a theme had emerged – that of consumers increasingly turning away from companies or services that have lost their trust. A week earlier the Ad Association was also talking about trust during their Lead18 event. Speakers from P&G talked about the need for transparency, whilst Trinity Mirror shared some key stats: 69% of consumers distrust advertising; and 37% of consumers trust brands less than before. In fact 4 separate speakers referenced a single report on the need to do more on trust.
This is also something I’ve talked about in this blog before, and it seems momentum is building in such a way that we would do well to ask ourselves if trust is the big issue for 2018?
With a certain someone in the USA constantly banging the drum on Fake News, with another meat production issue in the UK, and with regular news stories challenging corporate transparency – is it any wonder that consumers are more cynical, more inclined to switch brands, retailers or service providers when they feel unhappy with what they are seeing or hearing? A big part of the rise of the savvy consumer is about an emerging thoughtfulness that goes way beyond value for money. Consumers are more inclined to question or sense check purchase decisions than in the past. Of course they have the luxury of choice, so in many cases there’s little hardship involved in switching their ‘loyalty’. But importantly they are more likely to have the information and the desire to make that switch.
Going back to what pulled the IPM perspectives together: GDPR is forcing us to be much more transparent, so that we request rather than assume consumer permission to actively build a relationship with them. Influencers are being impacted by legislation that requires them to be open about the brands they work with. Brand loyalty is not a given, and is most likely a more fragile concept than in the past. And postal marketing? Well, at least if you open a paper envelope there’s no risk it will infect your PC!
If cynicism is on the increase, then more effort is needed to be honest, authentic and transparent. From the day to day interactions at the coal face, to the corporate communication from the top, honesty, authenticity and transparency need to be the watch words. Without them there is much to lose.
By Danielle Pinnington, MD @Shoppercentric