Do you think ‘brands’ are ridiculous? That it doesn’t matter what logo you have on your clothing, car, footwear or appliance?
Whatever your answers, you can rest assured there are plenty of affluent professionals analysing your every eyelash twitch in search of commercial insight.
But does this mean they really know what we prefer?
Aldi was the big winner in market research firm Roy Morgan’s annual customer satisfaction awards, with the German discount chain holding out Coles and Woolworths for the title of supermarket of the year.
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However, Jana Bowden, an associate professor and chair of ethics at Macquarie Business School, told The New Daily that brands should not get too carried away with customer satisfaction scores.
“As a measure, it’s plagued by imprecision and inconsistency – it taps into customers’ baseline expectations and whether or not they are met – but it doesn’t offer any more insight than that and brands wouldn’t want to rely on measures of satisfaction only to assess performance,” Dr Bowden said.
It’s not so simple discerning how keen we are about a company’s product range and price, or anything else.
To build genuine trust, “brands need to get the basics right, such as offering good products and services at a competitive price as well as doing that in a competent, reliable, consistent, dependable and responsive (way),” Dr Bowden said.
“But brands also need to meet consumers’ personal, societal and emotional needs if they are to gain their trust. For example, brands need to also deliver on purpose – they need to be honest, ethical, authentic, benevolent and have integrity.”
Dr Bowden says it’s not easy for brands to win us over. They need to meet consumers’ “personal, societal and emotional needs” to do so.
Price and basic service “can only get you so far as a brand”, Dr Bowden said, with research showing that “brands that have a clear purpose are four to six times for likely to be defended by consumers, championed and trusted”.
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Top brands, according to Roy Morgan’s Customer Satisfaction Awards
- Aldi (supermarket of the year)
- Costco (discount department store of the year)
- Commonwealth Bank (major bank of the year)
- Colonial First State (major retail super fund of the year)
- AustralianSuper (major industry super fund of the year)
- Aussie Broadband (internet service provider of the year)
- Myer (department store of the year)
- The Reject Shop (discount variety store of the year)
- Powershop (electricity provider of the year)
- Bunnings (hardware store of the year)
- JB HiFi (major furniture/electrical store of the year)
- Chemist Warehouse (chemist/pharmacy of the year)
- Rebel (sports store of the year)
- RAC (major general insurer of the year)
- Toyota (major car manufacturer of the year)
- Health Partners (private health insurer of the year)
- Defence Health (major private health insurer of the year – not for profit or restricted).
Nate Burke, from qualitydigest.com, says companies can retain trust with an online-only presence.
“It’s human nature for us to trust and find greater value in something we can see for ourselves in person,” she said.
“Traditionally, brands have been able to create this through instore experiences where customers know they can see products and services in action and are able to interact with staff and experts should there be any concerns. While digital channels do offer their own set of benefits, meeting these innate human needs is not one of them.
“So, in a bid to retain consumer trust amid the uncertainty of forced closures, measures and constantly changing restrictions, we’ve seen a number of effective strategies from brands. Regular push notifications and email communications just scratch the surface.”
Ms Burke said such tactics were a great way to generate instant response, whether it was a brand reminder, an update on important changes, or simply an alert of a new deal in an attempt to drive website traffic. And such digital marketing gurus now used personalised messages to make brand feel more ‘personal’, she added.
Recent surveys found only 24 per cent of Americans trust their federal government and only 76 per cent of consumers trust small businesses more than large.
Having tracked trust in media since 1972, Gallup reports the number of those with no trust at all has reached a historic high.
Despite issues with vaccination rollouts, 72 per cent of Australians say the government’s management of the pandemic has increased their trust in government.
Do you think marketing gurus accurately measure what we want as consumers? Have your say in the comments section below.
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