Consumers seek brands they trust during pandemic – and beyond

Trust has become the second most powerful means to stimulate someone to buy a brand, according to Edelman’s most recent brand trust trackers.

Trust is now “remarkably” second only to price, noted Richard Edelman CEO, in an interview with Bloomberg, ahead of ingredients and customer service.

Edelman said that Covid-19 and the protests around systemic racism has caused people to “completely re-evaluate” how they buy brands.

Research in the UK, for example, showed that 21% of consumers have convinced others to stop using a brand that they felt was not acting appropriately in response to the pandemic. Almost one in four (24%) have started using a new brand because of the “innovative or compassionate way” it has responded to the pandemic.

Some 91% also want companies to protect employees “at all costs”, whilst 64% said a brand’s response to the crisis would have a “huge impact” on the likelihood to buy that brand in the future. And 74% said companies putting profits before people will “lose my trust forever”.

Across hospitality and foodservice in the UK, people trust food makers the most (74%) and fast food and casual dining brands the least (56%).

“Trust has become a game changer for brands because it addresses people’s fears about personal safety, most notably vulnerability on health, financial stability, and privacy,” said Edelman. “The long-held practice of standing aside during controversies and crises is no longer an option for brands.”

Meanwhile, new global research by the Capgemini Research Institute found that as a result of the pandemic 78% of consumers believe that companies have a larger role to play in society. The survey also showed that 65% of executives say their customers are very much aware of their sustainability initiatives, but almost half of consumers (49%) do not have any information to verify the sustainability claims of products. A similar number of consumers (44%) do not trust product sustainability claims.

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