Global consumer expectations of brands continue to rise but in tandem with growing concern over how technological innovation could disrupt or influence their lives, according to WE Communications’ Brands in Motion 2018 study.
Partnering with YouGov, WE surveyed more than 25,000 consumers and B2B decision-makers in eight markets: Australia, China, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US. They were polled on 10 emotional and 10 rational drivers across eight industry categories, and 90 brands.
The findings show that 97% of respondents are demanding ethical use of innovation, and say that brands are responsible for this. More concerning for businesses is that 94% of consumers says if brands can’t or won’t do it, then governments should intervene.
In a similar vein, 84% of those surveyed fear their personal data is not secure, with 63% worried that their mobile phones are listening to them. This data is informed, the study finds, by recent societal tensions regarding technology, trade and political discord.
“Consumer sentiment isn’t surprising if you look at the current global environment—from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, current struggles with content moderation and the GDPR, to the competing promise and apprehension attached to technologies like AI, blockchain and autonomous vehicles,” said Alan VanderMolen, WE’s president of international.
“Brands have become the middle man, keeping the peace between lightning-speed innovation on one side and thoughtful ethics and regulation on the other. Consumers have now upped the ante and expect them to do more to drive stability in progress.”
Among other findings, the study found that between 2017 and 2018, brand motion scores rose 16% for rational drivers and 14% for emotional, illustrating that consumers’ desire for convenience and service is outweighing their emotional connections to a brand. In addition, 74% of respondents believe brands should take a stand on important issues.