Dubai – MENA Herald: Consumer-brand relations have room for improvement according to the 2016 Edelman Brand Relationship Index. The first-of-its-kind index showed that the global average consumer-brand relationship score reached just 38 out of a possible 100, signaling that brands have a clear opportunity to up the ante on consumer engagement and need to refocus on their role as social change-agents.
The study shows that 55 per cent of consumers believe that brands have more power and potential to solve societal issues than government entities. Furthermore, 62 per cent will not buy a brand if it fails to meet its societal obligations. Respondents give brands a rating of 33 when it comes to acting with purpose and a rating of 34 when they feel they tell a memorable story. In addition, 35 per cent of the publics did not believe that brands listened openly or responded well to consumer needs.
The study highlights how consumer engagement levels shift across multiple media platforms as the ‘brand-consumer relationship’ progresses from the early stages of “Interested” and “Involved” to the deeper “Invested” and “Committed” positions. Advertising, or paid media strategies, resonate better with consumers in these early stages by sparking awareness and consideration. However, leveraging a brand’s owned media channels and driving peer to peer conversations become twice as effective as consumers move from the “Involved” to the “Committed” stage.
The findings were unveiled in the Middle East at a panel discussion chaired by Carol Potter, Executive Vice Chairman, Edelman APACMEA. The panel comprised of regional and international thought-leaders including Jonathan Labin, Managing Director APACMEA, Facebook; fashion entrepreneur Firras Alwahabi; Richard Fitzgerald, Managing Director for LovinDubai and Luke Barnes, SVP & Commercial Director, VICE.
Carol Potter, Executive Vice Chairman, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa said: “There is an increasing discordance between the way brands are engaging with consumers and the way consumers want to be approached. This discordance has contributed to a trust issue that is making consumers wary of committing and advocating for brands. Logically, this implies that we need to recalibrate the relationship to bring it to a stronger footing and brands today will have to invest differently to achieve this. Today, consumers value and are willing to advocate for brands that have strong stories to tell, listen intently and openly to their publics and act with purpose while contributing to societal well-being.”
Speaking about the foundations and facilitators of consumer-brand relationships, Firras Alwahabi, a well-known fashion entrepreneur and champion of up-and-coming local designers said: “Brands can longer be just products and services; they need to be innovators, co-creators and collaborators, capable of leaving a definitive mark on the consumer mindset.”
Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman said: “The index confirms that marketers have done a good job getting consumers to preference and purchase, but consumers indicated they are willing to go deeper, to be committed in their brand relationships. The study shows when a consumer moves from a relationship rooted in ‘me’ to one powered by ‘we,’ a new world of buying and advocacy potential opens up for a brand.”
The Edelman Earned Brand 2016 study was based on the responses of 13,000 consumers in 13 countries and focused on the F&B, hospitality, financial services, automotive, technology, FMCG and fashion industries. First launched in 2015 at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the annual Edelman Earned Brand Study offers brands and marketers a reference point on public sentiment.