The Importance of Honesty and Authenticity For Brands

CohnWolfe-Important-Behaviors-Company-to-Display-Nov2014There have been several pieces of research released recently that have examined what consumers believe to be the top attributes for brands to display. New studies issued by Mindshare North America and Cohn & Wolfe add to that body of research, which seems to agree that honesty and authenticity are important attributes, particularly to Millennials.

A quick review of some of the relevant takeaways from the earlier research shows that:

The desire for openness and authenticity from brands can be juxtaposed against other research finding that the public’s trust in major corporations is declining, and that advertising practitioners suffer from lower honesty ratings than auto mechanics.

Against this backdrop of skepticism and lack of trust, it’s no wonder that consumers are looking for authenticity from brands. This is confirmed by a recent study from Cohn & Wolfe, which found that 63% of consumers surveyed across 12 global markets would buy from a company they consider to be authentic over and above its competitors. Moreover, 6 in 10 would recommend an authentic organization to family and friends.

Indeed, a leading 91% of respondents agreed that it’s important for companies to communicate honestly about their products and services, and 87% agreed that companies should act with integrity all the time. By comparison, only 6 in 10 felt that it’s important that companies have products or services they cannot live without.

A new study from Mindshare North America finds that it’s vital that brands communicate their good intentions to Millennials, for whom “friendship values” are a building block of identity. Among the 1,000 Millennials aged 18-34 who participated in the study, a majority believe that the following show that brands have good intentions:

  • Supports employees (62%);
  • Follows through (57%);
  • Puts people over profits (57%);
  • Works for a better world (54%; and
  • Helps people (52%).

And to come full circle, the top 2 values that Millennials define themselves by are… honesty and trustworthiness.

About the Data: The Cohn & Wolfe study was based on quantitative and qualitative research of 12,000 respondents across the following 12 markets: China; India; Indonesia; US: UAE; Hong Kong; Italy; Spain; France; Germany; Sweden; and the UK.