Marketers need to improve communications around product innovation claims survey

Edelman_LogoConsumers do not trust new innovation coming from many companies, and feel marketers are not doing a good enough job of communicating change to them, a study has claimed.

A survey of Australian consumers by PR agency Edelman showed nearly 90 per cent say concerns around how innovation impacts on privacy, the environment and their security will stop them from purchasing new products.

Edelman boss Michelle Hutton


“People are absolutely feeling that the pace of innovation is way too fast,” Michelle Hutton, global practice chair, consumer marketing at Edelman told Mumbrella.

“All brands, marketers and communicators need to think about communicating a new innovation differently. You can’t just talk about the inspirational components of that innovation, you’ve got to really reassure people. Allow them to find that peer-to-peer review easily and participate in it.”

While consumers are embracing innovation, 87 per cent of Australian respondents to the survey said they would not buy products or services from companies that do not address concerns around impact to the environment and privacy and security concerns.

“Across the board people were telling us if companies and brands today don’t help me overcome these concerns then I’m not going to buy their products,” Hutton said.

“For marketers, 87 per cent of people in Australia are saying if you want to communicate new or better services because you’ve innovated then I’m not going to buy you.”

Edelman researchLooking at privacy, Australia was above the global average (66 per cent) with 74 per cent of local respondents concerned around privacy leaks when it comes to a company innovating, while 61 per cent of local respondents are concerned around impacts to the environment and security issues worried 69 per cent of local respondents.

According to the research, two in three consumers want to be reassured by brands or companies around these issues while one in three consumers want to be inspired.

“What we found coming through incredibly strongly was this whole premise of absolutely inspire me about the innovation, I want to be excited, I want to be inspired but you have to reassure me and if you don’t do that reassurance piece I’m not going to buy your new upgrade or try your new product or service,” Hutton explained.

The research revealed that marketers are failing consumers in reassuring them around innovation with two in three consumers saying brands are not moving in the right direction in how they communicate around innovation.

“We asked the respondents a whole range of questions around how marketers and communicators are doing – are they doing a good job at the moment of reassuring you? And they’re saying no – they’re talking at me, they’re not listening to me, they’re not allowing me to be part of the conversation, to share my views, to find out about other people’s views around products and services,” Hutton said.

Edelman research

The research suggested the majority of consumers feel like brands are shouting at them around innovation, with 67 per cent of local consumers saying they feel bored or frustrated by constantly being told they need to upgrade or update while 71 per cent of local respondents say they do not trust what they are seeing due to photo manipulations in ads and online.

According to the research, respondents believe innovation needs to come from sectors other then technology and mobile, highlighting the need for innovation in energy, healthcare, food and beverage and  education.

Edelman research

The message to marketers and communications professionals is consumers are relying on their peers to reassure them around purchase decisions, the research suggested.

Nearly half of local consumers use their peers to help them overcome concerns, make decisions and warn them about risks associated with a brand and its innovation.

More than half (64 per cent) of Australian consumers said they trust a brand more if they can find it easy to review its products and services, while 59 per cent of respondents said they trust a brand more if they are encouraged to review its products and services.

However this does not indicate brands need to hire “influencers” but rather allow the average user to post reviews as people want to hear from people like them.

While the research also revealed that 2 in 3 consumers question a brand or company’s reason for innovating, with 70 per cent of local consumers believing companies innovate to make money, Hutton said innovation coming from marketing departments, such as M&C Saatchi’s Clever Bouy or Clemenger BBDO Sydney’s Pepper Hacker, is “different to innovation that evolves a company and a brand, innovation that potentially disrupts a business model”.



Edelman chief operating officer Matthew Gain said ideas such as Clever Bouy “highlights how important innovation is”.

Gain said the issue for businesses is that “marketing departments are funding these ideas, but they’re one offs, they’re designed to win a Cannes Lions”.

“The insight we need to take out of that is these ideas capture attention, people are excited about these things, if we move these from being an incubator idea thing to how are we as a business going to put our money behind it and make a difference, how do we really fix this and roll out that innovation?” he said.

The Innovation and the Earned Brand study surveyed 10,000 respondents across 10 countries including Australia, Japan, India, China, the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico and the US during April and May this year.

Miranda Ward


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