The Generosity Gene for Reputation

June 24, 2011

The Generosity Gene for Reputation

 Strategy + Business reported on the power of the post-recession consumer in a recent article that was sent to me.  The article uses Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) which I am familiar with. This extraordinary database on consumer values, attitudes and shopping behaviors is something we used to use at my former agency. And I got to know Ed Lebar who started it all. Ed is terrific and I have always admired the smarts that went into this enormous undertaking that started some 20 years ago and which provides data on over 40,000 brands worldwide. 
The research revealed in this article on the  new consumer found that there is a return to purpose and connection.  As well, people are making their decision-making over whether sellers meet their standards and reflect their values. In fact, this research confirms what we just learned in our new survey on Civility in America which reports that consumers are turning away from buying products/services where the companies or their representatives are rude or uncivil.  Here’s the part from the BAV research that made my heart beat faster:

Among the once-prized brand attributes that declined in this period were: “exclusive” (down 60 percent), “arrogant” (down 41 percent), “sensuous” (down 30 percent), and “daring” (down 20 percent). On the opposite side of the scale, the brand attributes Americans found more important as they began to sense the impending recession and then suffered through the crisis were: “kindness and empathy” (up 391 percent), “friendly” (up 148 percent), “high quality” (up 124 percent), and “socially responsible” (up 63 percent).

Just think about it for a minute — Kindness and Empathy as corporate reputation drivers. Of course!  As the authors write, the search for empathy in the companies they do business with “is the biggest shift in any attitude that we have ever seen during the BAV survey’s two-decade history.” 

Generosity might just be the new thread in corporate DNA. ” The vanguard companies understand that showing kindness and humanity is now a competitive advantage.”  Making sure your company has the generosity gene is an imperative to growth and meeting customers’ needs.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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