As they roll out the results from “brandshare,” their consumer study initiative, Edelman has found that an overwhelming majority of people across eight countries – including Canada – want marketers to more effectively share their brands. In Canada, 91 per cent of people want brands to share and only eight per cent feel brands are doing this well, which is consistent with other markets.
brandshare measured six dimensions of sharing – shared dialogue, shared experience, shared goals, shared values, shared product and shared history – and found a link between effective brand sharing and business value; the greatest business value coming from shared product and shared values. “brandshare highlights the great importance of placing real people at the centre of brand marketing strategies. By basing our approach on their unique interests and desires, we can connect in a far more meaningful way,” said Sarah Crabbe, Senior Vice President and National Consumer practice lead, Edelman Canada. “The survey results demonstrate what Canadians value in terms of interactions with brands – and the importance of consumers being part of a brand journey and story. There is an incredible opportunity to shape strategy around sharing and to bridge the gap between what consumers think brands should do and what they are actually doing.”
Not surprisingly, the study also found that sharing a product is one of the most significant factors impacting purchase decision. In fact, 95 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they want to have a hand in the design and development process of a brand. Additionally, people want complete openness about product performance, with 92 per cent of Canadian respondents wanting to know how products are made and how they should perform against competitors.
Of the six sharing dimensions, shared values has the highest unmet demand among brand audiences. More than nine in 10 (92 per cent) respondents across the eight countries surveyed – U.S., UK, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, China and India – want to do business with brands that share their beliefs; in Canada, that number goes up to 95 per cent. Moreover, nearly half of Canadian respondents (48 per cent) want brands to be more transparent about how products are sourced and manufactured and just over four in 10 (41 per cent) want brands to do more to give back to their communities.
Additionally, 39 per cent of Canadians feel brands should do more to demonstrate they share and support people’s ambitions. People would rather be asked what they need before being told how to get there and this is particularly true in product categories where people lack confidence in their knowledge and expertise, such as financial services and technology. Consumers continue to look for a more thoughtful dialogue with brands, where their opinions are solicited and responses are acted upon. More than four in 10 (43 per cent) of Canadian respondents say they want brands to listen and respond more thoughtfully.
Shared history – which means illustrating and involving people in a company’s history or story – correlates most strongly to purchase and recommendation intent although only 26 per cent of people are actively demanding more of it.
The study revealed significant gaps between expectation and delivery on the dimensions of sharing. When comparing people’s expectations (how important they believe it is for a brand to demonstrate a specific behavior) to perceived performance, the biggest gaps are found in the areas of shared values, shared goals and shared products.