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Research into Consumer Decision Making: The New Trust Imperative

Mar 23, 2016
Article - 23 Mar 2016

FCB Shanghai invited clients and media to the sharing of New Realities, a research into the changing nature of consumer decision making.

New Realities is a global quantitative research study that IPG has conducted for the last 6 years with fieldworks in China, US, England, India, Brazil and Russia. The research aims to provide valuable learnings for today’s marketers and their marketing communications partners, so they can develop strategies that best respond to the changing nature of today’s dynamic consumers.

Terry D. Peigh, senior vice president/managing director of IPG, delivered a keynote speech on the New Realities.  Terry leads the New Realities project.

For the past 6 years, we at IPG have fielded an important piece of global research that looks at the changing nature of consumer decision making. We call this New Realities. Over this time, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how consumers view the “consumption” of product information…and the channels they most value in making product decisions.  But underneath this dramatic growth in valuing product information has emerged a very powerful requirement for that information and the demand for total trust.

What we’ve learned.

Product information is valued more and more by consumers around the world. Importantly, this product learning is a real source of joy and fulfillment around the world. The knowledge about a category or product gives consumers “social currency”—information to share with others when discussing various products.

All of this data reinforces the need for marketers to aggressively supply consumers with this desired product information, and to do so in such a way as to make it easy for consumers to obtain it, internalize it, enjoy it, and pass it on. 

But while all of this is pleasing for marketers to hear, today’s consumers worldwide are also putting up a hurdle that the brand information must meet in order for them to gladly accept and act on this product information.  And that hurdle is their growing demand for trust.

So which attributes drive brand trust in the minds of today’s consumers? The top two drivers of trust were most closely connected to a manufacturer’s products: product performance and claim truthfulness.

The second, but significantly lower, set of drivers were “innovation” (This brand is always up-to-date. (This brand is a leader/continually innovates) and “customer-centricity” (This brand has great respect for customers/is always looking out for its customers).

A few things for brands to consider.

Product efficacy rules the day. Building things that work (and that consumers have a need for) is a sure-fire way to gain their trust.

Social responsibility efforts are good but they can’t make up for product short-comings. Instead of funding expensive yet disconnected CSR efforts, brands might do better looking for ways to harness their product’s power in a participatory, socially responsible fashion.

And while essential to driving revenue, “innovation” seems to come up a little short when driving the trust scores of today’s consumer.

Time will tell how consumers react to the ever-increasing wealth of information available to them at their fingertips. But one thing’s for certain. A brand will always want consumers to answer affirmatively to the all-important question, “can I trust you?”