Staff Reporters
Jan 15, 2015

Authenticity: The habits of trusted brands

Cohn & Wolfe’s ‘Authentic brands’ study for 2014 yields some surprising findings, not least that KFC and HSBC are perceived as the most ‘authentic’ brands in China and Hong Kong, respectively.

Authenticity: The habits of trusted brands

That is despite major controversies surrounding both brands in those markets in recent years. Cohn and Wolfe attribute the brands’ high rankings in the survey partly to stronger community outreach, particularly in the case of HSBC.

Nonetheless, consumers in the four Asian markets included in the study—which also looked at India and Indonesia—remain sceptical about big business. Just 8 per cent in Hong Kong see large corporations as honest and transparent. The figure rises somewhat in China, with Indonesians by far the most trusting.

Globally, people in fast-growing economies are a lot less jaded than their counterparts in slow growth economies. For example, 64 per cent see the banking sector displaying ‘authentic’ behaviour, as opposed to 22 per cent elsewhere.

Overall, consumers view supermarkets as the most authentic sector (52 per cent of global respondents said so), while fast food and alcohol sat at the opposite end of the scale.

Unsafe food processes are what really make people upset: excepting Indonesia, more than three-quarters of respondents say they would become very angry if a company were found to skimp on the safety of its food products. Being open and honest clearly pays off. In fast-ßgrowth economies, more than 60 per cent of respondents say they are more loyal to a company and recommend it to others if its practices fit with their values.

The study canvassed 12,000 people across 12 markets worldwide.


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