The recently released 2017 Cohn & Wolfe Authentic Brands study is the result of an ambitious undertaking. Cohn & Wolfe surveyed over 15,000 consumers across a wide variety of markets in search of a deeper understanding of their perception of 1,400 popular brands. Culminating in the “Authentic 100” – the top 100 U.S. brands ranked according to consumer perception of authenticity – the study “examines the role of authenticity in business, the attributes associated with an authentic brand and the impact of authenticity on consumer… attitudes and behaviors.”
It’s no surprise that authenticity is an attribute that is highly valued by today’s consumers. In our social media-saturated society, consumers have more opportunities than ever before to interact with brands on a “personal” level and they demand that engagement in exchange for their loyalty to certain brands and products. Let’s take a look at how consumers perceive authenticity and what that means for today’s brand builders.
My favorite coffee shop is about a mile from my office, and it has an unexpected name: Second Best Coffee. That’s a strangely self-effacing way to market a cup of coffee, isn’t it? So, why “second best”?
As we recently explored in our blog series, Tomorrow’s Super Consumers, a seismic shift is occurring in the demographics of American consumers. Nielsen’s report on The Multicultural Edge reveals that multicultural consumers are “the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population,” on track to be a numeric majority by 2044. Smart, inclusive marketers and brand builders can no longer ignore their increasingly diverse consumer base.
It’s time to devise strategies for connecting with a wide range of consumers with authenticity, respect, and ongoing engagement. With multicultural consumers on the rise, how can brands and marketers embrace a diversity of perspectives and experiences to create inclusive, compelling brand identities that connect with our increasingly diverse marketplace? To start, let’s take a look at several brands who are succeeding at engaging diverse perspectives.
I recently wrote about the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, which revealed that trust is in crisis around the world. “The majority of respondents now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them,” the study found in regards to public trust in four key institutions – business, government, NGOs, and media. Edelman president and CEO Richard Edelman traces the roots of the current trust deficit to the 2008 recession, asserting that the combination of technological innovation and globalization has left many consumers feeling left behind.
In this age of social media dialogue and empowered consumer voices, unique challenges and opportunities are emerging for brands that wish to build trust in their products, leadership, and impact. How can we rebuild consumer trust at a time when the world feels increasingly polarized and consumers, who are eager and able to share their opinions, nonetheless feel that major institutions no longer have their best interests at heart?
In a recent blog, I introduced the book TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, the “Head of TED.” In this inspiring and practical guide, Chris makes a persuasive case about the importance of public speaking for anyone with a message to share. Brand leaders, innovators, artists – all have a story worth telling and can benefit from creating an active, engaged audience for their brand, their products, or their message.
In Chris’s case, the message is that presentation literacy (the ability to present effectively in public) is not an innate power that only a few of us are born with, it’s a teachable skill that anyone can learn. That means that, with a bit of practice, all of us have the ability to make our mark and share our story with the world. I want to take a closer look at the public speaking skill set Anderson identifies and how we can put it into practice for compelling, impactful storytelling.
Who is your spokesperson? Why does it matter? What makes a spokesperson great?
When it comes to putting a face on our brands, employees aren’t usually the first people we think of. However, while professional PR figures or social media influencers are masters of polish and presentation, the very lack of pretense is what makes an employee such a compelling representative. As “outsiders” of the traditional public relations field, employee’s “boots on the ground” experience and insight can make a powerful impact.
So, if you haven’t yet empowered employees to represent your brand to customers, investors, or the world at large, it’s time to give it some serious thought. If your first question is, “But how do I prepare them to spread our message?”, you aren’t alone. Luckily, the answer is simple and aligned with your existing employee engagement and development efforts.
A brand is a promise you make to your customers. It’s a hallmark of the consistency, quality, and efficacy of a company’s products or services. A brand is also an aspirational statement – we’ve encouraged brand-makers to ask themselves “Who do our customers want to be?”. A brand at its best both answers and fulfills this question.
But what happens as a brand ages and evolves? As a brand weathers multiple decades of innovation and market variation, change isn’t just an inevitability, it’s a mandate: evolve or risk being left behind. Here’s a look at three brands that have transitioned successfully over multiple decades of existence, with an eye towards what today’s brand-makers can learn from their example.