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Good intentions are not enough – consumers expect brands to take action claims recent study

As environmental concerns rise higher and higher up the news agenda people are expecting brands to do something positive, for example by using new technologies for the good of humanity and the planet. A recent report The New Brand Loyalty from agency WE Communications based on the Brands in Motion research conducted with YouGov, discusses how brands must evolve to maintain customer loyalty.

Three-point plan

Brands must take three key steps:

  • Find their purpose and lead with it. Consumers want brands to take a stand and provide stability in uncertain times, but any purpose needs to be authentic to the brand’s soul.

  • Aim for mutual respect. Consumers want more than a great product – they want to be treated like human beings. Every feature, communication and customer touchpoint needs to reinforce the fact that brands understand what consumers need to live fuller, easier lives.

  • Tie local action to global impact. Consumers want brands to weigh in on important issues, but visibility is key. Brands need to demonstrate positive change at the local level before they can win consumers over to their global initiatives.more.

Tell tales

Relating to people is key, and discussing how PR can help brands to tell stories, Kass Sells, global chief operating officer at WE Communications, says: “Nearly all (83%) of global study respondents say they believe brands can provide stability, and 74% say they expect brands to take a stand on important issues. Consumer expectations are rising, yet brands can’t be everything to everyone. To survive, brands must be human to the core. This goes beyond statements of purpose and good intentions, instead consumers want action. For PR and marketers, every piece of creative and communication is an opportunity to tell a human story.”

Be human

Sells concludes that PR must encourage brands to show their humanity: “Brands need to use their communications to prove their humanity, and tie local action to global action – PR and marketers need to work with brands to find tactical ways to express this.”


YouGov conducted the Brands in Motion global study using an online interview administered to panellists who had agreed to take part in surveys. Respondents to the survey were 18 years of age or older, did not work in advertising/PR/marketing/market research, qualified to rate one of the categories based on purchase history and purchase intent, and qualified to rate at least one of the brands surveyed based on awareness. A total of 25,193 responses were collected across eight markets between April and June of 2019.

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