Consumers ‘don’t trust brands’

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Reputation is a very important metric for companies around the world but many consumers are losing their trust in advertising and as such less likely to believe in the claims of particular companies, according to a new report.

The Reputation Institutes’s 2014 Global RepTrak 100 study is carried out each year. For 2014, it found that the Walt Disney Company and Google are the most trusted brands in the world.

Obviously, mid-sized British firms will probably want to avoid entering into competition with multinational behemoths such as Google, which can afford to spend huge amounts on marketing and engagement.

However, the findings of the survey do pose some questions that could be interesting to marketing managers and business leaders across Britain.

Kasper Ulf Neilsen, executive partner at the Reputation Institute, said the best companies in the world see reputation as “an input to their strategy” rather than a passive piece of output created solely by their communications team.

“They use feedback from customers and other key stakeholders to make better business decisions, and that is what makes them trusted and relevant,” he explained.

While most companies won’t have access to the vast array of resources and tools that characterise the likes of Disney, the emergence of CRM software in recent years points towards one way in which firms can produce actionable insights from consumer behaviour.

“By working systematically with reputation they have a clearer understanding of where to invest and what to say, which in turn increases their return on investment,” added Mr Neilsen.

With only a quarter of global consumers feeling that advertising is trustworthy – a figure that drops to between ten and 15 per cent within the UK – companies need to change their approach if they are to be successful.

Social media engagement, co-creation and other collaborative techniques are vital, as these help buyers feel they have some degree of control over a brand and thus form a relationship with it, according to the Reputation Institute.