Lead with values, deliver on quality: How brands can build long-term trust
4 November 2021
Today’s consumers are savvier and more socially minded than ever before. Technology has broken down barriers and connected people all around the world, giving consumers a more global worldview. They’re seeing the effects of climate change, and rethinking their habits and purchases. Many consumers are leading or joining social justice movements in the hopes of creating a more equitable society.
They’re also aware of the unique – and often out-sized – influence that brands hold. As such, they’re looking for the private sector to do more. Consumers around the world would like to see more empathy and humanity from brands, and are asking them to strike a balance between profit and meaningful contributions to society.1
Amazon Ads recently commissioned a survey with Environics Research, a firm that specializes in social values. We were seeking to learn about the key social values that are guiding consumer behaviour. Through our survey, we found that consumers increasingly want to see brands leverage their resources and influence to have a positive impact on the world. Here’s a look at the key insights, plus tips on how brands can build trust with consumers in this landscape.
Consumers are putting their money where their values are
Consumers in the US and Europe appreciate when brands are responsible corporate citizens (89% US, 87% Europe) – and they’re showing their support through purchases: 80% of US and 72% of European consumers firmly believe that they can vote with their money by supporting brands that are good corporate citizens.2 Across the US and Europe, consumers aspire to purchase products or services from brands whose values align with their own (81% US, 85% Europe).3 And around two-thirds of consumers are already doing just that: 62% of US and 67% of European consumers indicate that they’re purchasing from brands whose values align with their own.4
62% of US and 67% of European consumers indicate that they’re purchasing from brands whose values align with their own.
Today’s consumers are putting their money where their values are – which means that brands need to be communicating their values frequently and consistently across their content and channels. Yet, consumers are sceptical and savvy: seven in ten consumers agree that they “do not trust businesses that make public statements about an issue – at the end of the day, they know profit comes first.” (67% US, 70% Europe).5 Brands won’t be able to win them over with empty promises and hollow messages. Consumers are looking for brands to take consistent, meaningful and impactful stands on social issues – and they will invest in brands that do. Majorities in both regions indicate that they’re more likely to purchase an item from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues (55% US, 70% Europe).6
Consumers are seeking quality products
At the same time that consumers are seeking social change, they’re also looking for reassurance and familiarity. When it comes to brands, products, and services, consumers tend to return to what they know and trust. Consumers in the US and Europe are looking for brands that deliver on both products and the customer experience. They will return to brands that provide quality products (54% US, 48% Europe), ensure good value for the money (46% US, 46% Europe), offer reasonable prices (41% US, 35% Europe), and provide good customer service (34% US, 32% Europe).7
To build trust and gain return customers, brands should focus on their product/service delivery-related attributes; both US and European consumers trust companies that consistently provide quality products that are a good value for the money. Consumers in both locales are also seeking good customer service; brands can evaluate the experience they’re giving customers at every interaction and determine if there are any opportunities for improvement.
Consumers expect from a lot from brands, and they’re using their purchasing power to make that known. To build long-term trust and loyalty, brands need to lead with their values and deliver on the quality of their products and services. Consistent messaging across channels is key. Environics Research recommends that brands build these strategies into their long-term plans:
- Commit to issues that matter and what they represent – and weave that into your positioning and delivery.
- Provide products, services and experiences that meaningfully enhance consumers’ lives.
- Continue future-thinking and pursue innovation in the spirit of advancement – of society and individuals.
1-7 Environics Research, “Amazon Ads | Social Values Global Consumer Themes,” U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Italy, 2021.