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Edelman study claims brands fail to create meaningful relationships with consumers

BrandshareBrands are struggling to develop “mutually beneficial relationships” with consumers, an Edelman study claims, with a majority of consumers saying brands fail to connect with them.

According to the brandshare study, run by PR agency Edelman, reports eight out of ten respondents considered their relationships to brands to be one-sided of limited value, while a majority of consumers, according to the study, believe the only reason brands share with them is a desire to increase profits.

Edelman global chair of consumer marketing Michelle Hutton said: “Consumers are sharing content and information about themselves, making purchases and recommending brands, but don’t feel they are getting much in return. Consumer expectations have become much higher for brands and people expect to get more out of these relationships than they’re currently receiving.”

The study also claims that the Australian disparity was greater than the global average, with 66 per cent of global respondents claiming brand relationships were one-sided compared to 79 per cent of local respondents.

A large majority of consumers (92 per cent of respondents) do want meaningful interactions with brands, the study found, but only a small number of respondents believed brands do it well.

Unsurprisingly, 85 per cent of respondents said it is important for brands to respond quickly to their concerns and complaints, with 73 per cent of respondents wanting brands to communicate openly and transparently about their supply chain.

According to the study, brands must also share their conviction and ensure consumers see they have a purpose and vision for the future, with this need key to unlocking online sharing behaviour.

The study said when these societal needs are meet, the impact is an 11 per cent life on consumer actions such as purchase, defend and recommend.

“Meeting the rational and emotional needs of consumers is vital to repairing the broken value exchange between consumer and brand, but it’s not enough,” said Ben Boyd, president of practices, sectors and offerings. “Their societal needs have to be met as well. And when that occurs, there is a quantifiable impact on the relationship between brand and consumer as well as the brand’s bottom Effective value exchange requires conviction and commitment from brands, storytelling and story- sharing and for brands to be always on and always adapting.”

Edelman surveyed 15,000 people across 12 countries about 199 brands across 11 industry sectors. Locally, Edelman surveyed 1027 people across eight regions about 48 multi-national brands and 11 “local” brands.

Miranda Ward 

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