Category Archives: Consumer Relations

When Things Go Wrong, You Have To Own It

The recent crisis for Boeing (resulting from the 737 Max accidents) has prompted a flurry of think pieces analyzing Boeing’s response, and what sets apart the businesses and brands that manage to retain consumer trust and loyalty in the face a major crisis.

What is the ideal playbook for a response to a crisis of this magnitude? I’d argue Johnson & Johnson established the gold standard all the way back in 1982 when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking cyanide-laced capsules of Extra-Strength Tylenol.
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Brands that Embraced Transparency to Create Success

Millennials require transparency. A generation that came of age with information at their fingertips, they are reshaping the way brands communicate their values, their product’s benefits, and even their supply chains. From food to politics, healthcare, and employment, millennials’ “Self, Society, and Planet” ethos drives them to understand how their purchasing decisions impact themselves, their communities, and the environment.

This requires brands to communicate in new ways. Either they embrace transparency and authenticity and retain control of their narrative, or they drive consumers to third-party sources of information that may or may not present them in a positive light. Either they communicate directly with consumers on social media or they are talked about without a seat at the table.

These brands have responded proactively to millennial consumers’ desire for transparency and created success as a result:
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How Brands Achieve Transparency & Attract Millennial Consumers

We recently explored how the millennial generation’s consumer ethos of “self, society, and planet” has impacted other demographics and encouraged brands to become more transparent about their product sourcing and social impact. This shift is perhaps most obvious when it comes to food labeling – after all, this is the generation that saw calorie counts added to fast food menus and prioritizes organic and local ingredients. However, today’s consumers want greater transparency for all products, not just those they literally consume.

In Inc., digital marketing entrepreneur Kenny Kline reports on the Label Insight Transparency ROI study that examines how transparency is vital in building trust with consumers and encouraging brand loyalty.
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Millennials Require Transparency in Branding & Marketing

Millennial Americans, those born between 1981 and 1996, are now the consumer demographic with the greatest spending power. They are a generation that grew up surrounded by rapid technological advancement and came of age at the start of the social media era. They are more likely than previous generations to be multicultural, tech-savvy, and socially engaged. Now, their preferences are shaping how brands market to and communicate with their target audiences.

Perhaps this shift is most obvious when it comes to food. Most millennials grew up eating processed foods and were children at the height of fast food’s prominence, gleefully collecting Happy Meal toys and making friends at the adjacent indoor PlayPlace. However, as young adults, they were the recipients (and sometimes engineers) of the changing trends toward organic, local, unprocessed food. Today, the primary value that millennials prize when eating is transparency.
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How Can Our Corporate Sustainability Efforts Do Better?

The New Year is a time to reflect over the progress we’ve made in the last year and prepare ourselves for the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead. With all of the uncertainty and volatility in our news cycle, it can be tough to narrow our focus. I find that setting simple, achievable goals helps make even the most “unsolvable” problems seem within reach.

With that in mind, I’d like to close out the past year and begin the new with a simple question: How can we do better in our sustainability efforts?
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Go Direct: How to Reach Consumers in the Era of “Fake News”

Richard Edelman, a leading expert in public relations and marketing, recently gave a speech at the University of Notre Dame addressing the crisis in consumer trust. His firm, Edelman, is a long-standing chronicler of consumer trust in institutions including business and government (we’ve covered past Edelman Trust Barometer results on our blog). In 2017, their global survey found that “trust is in crisis around the world” with trust in media and government reaching record lows since before the Great Recession of 2008.

The results for 2018 offer little hope for rebounding from the previous year. The most recent Trust Barometer “reveals a world of seemingly stagnant distrust” as “people’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media remained largely unchanged from 2017.” What the survey does offer, alongside Edelman’s recent remarks, is a potential way forward for those companies seeking to re-earn and re-establish the goodwill of their consumer base.
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Lenses of Interpretation: Hermeneutics in Marketing & Advertising

My wife and I are big fans of Rev. Rodger Nishioka, an astonishingly bright man. We love his insightful and perceptive approach to examining the big issues of our day. The opening sentences of Rodger’s recent note have been on my mind since I first read it. He wrote:

Hermeneutics. It means “interpretation.” I like to think of hermeneutics as a set of lenses through which each person views the world. Hermeneutics, or how we interpret the world, shape everything. The truth is each of us have multiple hermeneutics. We view the world through a complex combination of lenses. Some of my lenses are male, fourth-generation American of Japanese ancestry, single, mid-westerner (that is the newest one and I am still growing into it) and educated (some might say over-educated?!)

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