As 2018 came to a close there were escalating murmours of discontent towards influencers – are they losing their influence and is the influencer marketing a bubble waiting to burst? The backlash against the rise of fake news and disinformation impacting communications, design and advertising may be the spark that is now driving the demand for authenticity.
To understand if there is a changing attitude, we carried out a survey of UK consumers1 to examine the reaction to brands found to post fake content. Just over a third of consumers (33%) said they would speak negatively about a brand but only one in five (21%) would delete the brand’s app and just 16% would unfollow on social media. While 18% say they would take no action at all, over half (61%) would stop shopping with that brand.
Males were less forgiving overall, with 63% saying they wouldn’t buy from that brand again, compared with 60% of women. Men were also more likely to speak negatively about that brand (36% versus just 30% of women) although women were slightly more likely to unfollow on social media.
When it comes to the single most important deciding factor, half of consumers said brand quality is key, while just 10% said trustworthiness was the most important attribute when deciding which brand to buy from.
It should come as no surprise to hear that prices continue to be a factor for many shoppers, but research clarifies that cost is still a major consideration for many with three quarters (75%) of consumers saying having a good price will impact on which brands they use in 2019. Having good promotions (35%), a good retail experience (28%) and strong environmental policies (21%) could also impact on what brands are purchased this year.
There is growing importance in companies that are seen to be participating in social causes, with good social responsibility (12%) and association with good causes (13%), cited as factors that will increasingly impact on what brands are purchased. When giving back, organisations need to align themselves with relevant causes or ones they are passionate about, and this can only help enhance their image and reputation if consumers genuinely believe they are intent on making a positive impact on society.
Not only can you gain popularity, faithful support and win customer loyalty but you may also gain an advantage in your recruitment as “purpose-oriented employees” tend to remain with employers 20 per cent longer than those at other companies and are about 47 per cent more likely to be more engaged promoters of the companies they work for.2
The research shed interesting light on the impact of fake content and would suggest that the year ahead will see an evolution of consumer expectations. Furthermore, as the 2018 Sprout Social Index also suggests widening disconnect between what brands’ social media profiles post about and what customers want, there is an opportunity for brands to include insights from social too for them to understand what customers want and how best to communicate to them.
Rather than annually gazing into a crystal ball to predict what lies ahead for the calendar year, the findings highlight the need for brands to continually invest in researching their audiences.
The importance of understanding consumer behaviour and what influences their decisions, especially if a brand makes a misstep with its content, cannot be understated. It’s clear from our research that consumers believe in quality products from authentic brands and if trust is lost, the consequences can prove to be financially damaging and potentially irreversible.
The insight gained from regularly listening to consumers provides strong foundations to confidently drive forwards, develop marketing strategies, enhance communications and improve engagement. Getting consumer insights should not just be a new year resolution but a valuable habit to adopt.
1 2,009 UK consumers aged 18+, surveyed by Yolo Communications
2 NYU and Imperative