Reputation is the new bottom line. A global study commissioned by public-relations agency Weber Shandwick found that the company behind the brand is critical to consumer-purchasing decisions. So critical, that 70 percent of those surveyed said they would avoid buying products if they didn’t like the parent company.
“Consumers are using their dollars as a vote of confidence in companies they trust,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist, in a prepared statement. “As our research confirms, corporate and brand reputations are now nearly indivisible. The company standing behind the brand assures consumers that they can trust the quality, ethics and safety of the brands they are buying.”
So, while maybe your mother told you not to worry if the other kids don’t like you, corporations had better pay attention to who’s talking about them and what’s being said.
A total of 54 percent of consumers reported being surprised to find out that a product or service they liked was made by a company they didn't like. When asked what they do in response, surprised consumers said they most often stop purchasing the product.
What matters to the masses? Consumers were asked what they talk about when they discuss companies. A total of 69 percent said they frequently or regularly discuss how they feel about a product they bought, but they also like talking about a company’s customer service, how employees are treated, scandals or wrong-doing.
Not surprisingly, most people said word of mouth, including online search results and online reviews, is the leading influence when it comes to how they shape their opinions of companies.
More than half of consumers said they are more confident buying products from a company with a most admired standing than one with a positive share price forecast.
Today’s customers are choosy and conscious. The survey makes it no secret — they have higher expectations for the companies and the brands they like and will not hesitate to turn their backs when they are disappointed or led astray.
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