80 major brands in the Netherlands are failing to meet key consumer expectations. To remain relevant, brands need to show more of what they actually do for our society and the climate. This is evident according to Omnicom PR Group’s Authenticity Gap research presented today.
Article originally published on managersonline.nl.
Just before the start of the new year, we asked 1,000 consumers in our Authenticity Gap survey about their expectations and experiences with the biggest brands in the Netherlands. It turns out: the 80 largest organizations are disappointing their Dutch consumers. If you know what is important to your consumers, it is possible to improve your reputation. Here are three tips to get started on it tomorrow so that your company will be even better in 2022.
Sustainability is a must
For consumers, sustainability is currently the No. 1 reputation driver. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 surveyed industries in the Netherlands do not meet consumers’ expectations when it comes to sustainability. The Dutch now expect companies to compensate their CO2 emissions, but also to hold their customers and suppliers to this. Next to that, switching to green electricity for all your locations is a must but not even half of the companies are doing this at the moment.
Consumers expect concrete actions, but many organizations often start by appointing a sustainability manager or setting up a sustainability plan whose results only become clear in the longer term. There’s no more patience for that.
So: Get started on sustainability now. Consumers are losing their patience and want to see action. Show the short-term actions that you are doing. It is better to start small and concrete than to have the biggest intentions with comprehensive and complicated plans.
Show how you handle data
93% of the Dutch population is concerned about how companies handle the security and privacy of customer data. We see that the Dutch do love digital services, but they often distrust the motives of the companies behind it. We do not know exactly what those companies do with our data so if there is another way, we would rather not use digital services. Our research shows that that goes for no less than 84% of consumers. Furthermore, by now many consumers have received an email from a company that there has been a data leak or that their data has been hacked. In such a case, no less than three-quarters of consumers feel that companies are not doing enough to protect their interests.
So: Make it clear how you handle your customers’ data. Make your conditions shorter and more understandable, show consumers what options they have, and make it easy for them to choose. And if you have to deal with a data incident, don’t fall into the trap of a legal spokesperson, but make sure you put the customer at the center of your communication. Show empathy and offer customers help when needed.
Ensure optimal product and customer care
8 out of 10 surveyed industries are not providing the product and service value that consumers expect from them. The importance of good products and services is obvious, but never before have we seen companies fail so badly on aspects such as the price/quality ratio, product reliability, and the environmental footprint of a product or service. But companies are also failing in the area of customer care. Responding to the needs of the customer, putting the interests of customers first, that’s what it’s all about.
So: the short-term focus and the “what is in it for me” attitude of consumers is also reflected in the enormous importance that consumers now place on having an optimal product. In addition to making demands on the social efforts of brands, consumers are also unprecedentedly critical of what products and services do for them and they expect nothing less than optimal customer care. Is the customer really central in your organization? Feel free to review your customer journey.