09 Nov Consumers are searching for meaningful Brandexperience and TranspArancy
In the twelfth year of Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands study, which surveyed people around the world, Havas Group reveals a growing cynicism and expectations gap in consumers’ relationships with brands and companies.
The “Meaningful Brands Study 2021” by the Havas Group shows that consumers worldwide and also in Austria are looking for meaningful brand experiences and transparency – but brands are not living up to this expectation. The past months have further strengthened this trend. This is also shown by the current Austrian results.
– 75% of all brands could disappear and no one would care.
– 71% of respondents worldwide have little confidence that brands will keep their promises.
– 73% worldwide want brands to act now for the good of society and the planet, in Austria even 74% advocate this demand.
In its twelfth year, the Havas Group’s Meaningful Brands study, which surveys more than 395,000 people around the world, including more than 5,000 consumers in Austria, uncovers an increasing cynicism as well as a growing expectations gap in consumers’ relationships with brands and companies. In addition, the study reveals that consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity from brands, especially in terms of meaningful and sustainable actions for the good of society and the planet, but feel painfully let down by empty promises.
Brands worldwide in the age of cynicism
Since the global survey began in 2009, the importance of brands has steadily declined. The 2021 survey, which measures brand importance in functional, personal and collective terms, shows that 75% of brands could disappear overnight and most people would not care because they could easily find a replacement.
It is clear that actions by companies to positively influence brand meaning have appeal. However, the 2021 survey, conducted amid the height of the global pandemic in mid-2020, also shows a dramatic loss of trust in brands, with 71% of consumers having little confidence that brands will deliver on their promises.
Longing for Meaningful Experiences
However, the study report of the 2021 findings also reveals opportunities for brands: 66% of consumers yearn for meaningful brand experiences. During the pandemic, retail, entertainment and technology companies have improved their brand value the most in the eyes of respondents. According to the global Meaningful Brand Index, Google, PayPal, WhatsApp, YouTube and Samsung are in the lead.
Austria’s longing for stability and commitment
Michael Göls, CEO Havas Village Austria, underlines: “Across the world, we see a deep gap between great brand promises and equally great breaches of trust of the same brands. On the other hand, brands that take on responsibility in our society step by step – i.e. are meaningful – and also communicate this transparently, are experiencing increasing popularity in the long term. Consumers demand meaningfulness – this is a mission, responsibility and opportunity at the same time!”
For the Meaningful Brands Study, the values of a total of 35 domestic brands were examined in Austria in the survey from a total of nine sectors, including retail, beverages, insurance, media, as well as transport or energy, with international trends continuing in Austria: “74 percent of domestic consumers believe that brands must now act for the good of society and the planet. The good news is that 55 percent are willing to pay more for brands that care about environmental and social issues. 68 per cent are more likely to buy from companies that have a reputation for being committed to goals other than profit – and prove it on a regular basis,” Göls explains. “One can only warn against selective greenwashing campaigns.”
Meaningful Brands in Austria
“Even though personal benefits experienced a brief upswing due to the pandemic, the long-term trend strongly indicates that collective benefits are becoming more and more important,” explains Gabriel Delano, Head of Strategy & Insights at Havas Village in Vienna. “For domestic
For domestic consumers, those companies that set impulses in the areas of employer branding, the environment and the economy scored well,” says Delano.
Among the corporate brands surveyed, the Hofer, Spar, ÖAMTC, Manner and ÖBB brands secured the top positions in the Meaningful Brands Index in Austria. “Retail, and here primarily the food sector, has once again established itself as an important and trustworthy sector in the pandemic. The transport companies, in turn, score points with their function as employers and regional anchors for the economy,” Delano explains the result.
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