Company behind the Brand Matters
As you may know, I’ve been interested in the topic of corporate vs. brand reputation for a long long time. With all the choices that consumers have today when selecting products and services, a changing roster of criteria now factor into purchase decision-making. In addition to price and convenience, increasingly more consumers are choosing brands based on the reputation of the company behind the brand. This single buying factor has increased substantially over the past several years as corporate reputation has risen in importance and the Internet makes us privy to everything a company does. In a recent study by Nielsen, they found that Opinion Elites in 16 countries seriously care about the behavior of the companies that produce the brands they are buying. These business influentials are deciding what to buy because of the sustainability efforts of the parent brand, its transparency or its labor practices. Or these Opinion Elites may be deciding not to buy certain brands because of how a parent company handled a crisis or treats its employees. And they do not keep their opinions to themselves — 37% said they actively tried to influence their friends’ and family’s perceptions about a company because of something they learned about how it conducts itself.
In our research on this topic, we found consumers in emerging markets to be even more attuned to how companies behave. In emerging markets, consumers want the assurance that the products they are buying are manufactured by reputable companies that don’t take short cuts on quality and will be around for the long-term. I was therefore pleased to find this chart (above) on the Nielsen insight blog that showed that a fairly large segment of opinion shapers in emerging markets care as much as they do in the U.S. and Canada about the parent brand and how it behaves.