Sefiani research finds 6 key trends for brand and corporate reputation management

Sefiani Communications Group has released its first research report titled, ‘Communication that Matters Report: How to build positive reputations and meaningful connections in a fast-changing world’.

The report explores the key trends impacting brand reputation and identifies what this means for marketers, communicators and business leaders.

Sefiani releases key trends impacting brand reputation and identifies what this means for marketers and business leaders

It is based on the agency’s observations working with more than 80 global and local corporations and brands in the past year such as CrowdStrike, DoorDash, Ernst & Young (EY), Expedia Group (Stayz), HelloFresh, Pizza Hut, Rest Super and more.  The report also draws on research of papers such as ‘The WARC guide to rethinking B2B marketing’ (April 2021) and ‘The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021 and Beyond, McKinsey and Partners (January 2021).

Transparency, social purpose, culture and commitment to sustainability have all emerged as the most valuable currencies for brand and corporate reputations in the past year, according to the report.

In total, six key trends for brands are identified by the report, the first being, that “reputation matters more than ever”. The report cited that “in a world of societal tensions, a climate crisis, a pandemic, fake news, cancel culture and a call for radical transparency, a positive brand reputation has never been more critical for customer loyalty, commercial success and shareholder support”. It added that a positive reputation can only be built when a “brand, and its leaders’ authentic words and consistent purposeful actions work in synergy”.

The second key trend is “the power of purpose”. Clearly articulating purpose allows brands to live-up to consumer expectations while contributing to society. “Living your purpose is more than small acts, it should be at the heart of every decision, operation and interaction. Consumers are hungry for information about a brand’s values to guide their choices in purchasing from brands that create real and positive impact,” the report read.

Thirdly, its about the “culture club”. The proliferation of digital platforms means that what happens inside your organisation will be shared outside. The report cited that “an organisation’s culture and how it treats its employees has a significant impact on brand reputation. A positive workplace culture – based on authenticity – is a powerful asset.”

The fourth key trend is to make sure your business’ “green is seen”. Increasingly, the public is looking to business, rather than government, to move Australia towards a net-zero future. To be seen and trusted as a sustainable business, positive steps being taken to reduce impact on the environment must be communicated effectively.

The report said the fifth trend is to rebuild better: from ‘me’ to ‘we’. A feature of the pandemic has been the rise of altruistic collectivism. The public are looking for the positives and focusing on the rebuild. Brands that mirror this optimistic sentiment will be rewarded.

And the final key trend is to “humanise B2B”, with the report citing, “businesses make purchasing decisions, but it is their people who decide what and from whom”. Business decisions, while carefully researched and measured, can also be intuitive and emotional. The next generation decision-maker is looking to reward brands that demonstrate empathy, creativity and shared values.

Sefiani Brand Group practice lead, Nicole Schulz said: “Brands now face unprecedented scrutiny and consumer sentiment has never been more important in making or breaking reputation. This presents both risk and opportunity for the owners of those brands.”

Sefiani director strategy and creative, Nicole Thurston, added: “The expectations now placed on brands by consumers are higher than ever. The opportunity for companies and brands lies in positive actions and authentic communication that tells a story across multiple channels, connecting brands with their purpose-led communities.”


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