Corporate brands are more important than ever before as consumers look for anchors of trust in today’s uncertain climate, according to global research from PR network Weber Shandwick.

The study found that corporate brands were a talking point online, with more consumers (43%) likely to discuss corporate scandal and wrong-doing than mention good corporate deeds (37%).

“In this always on, multi-platform, uncertain world, corporate brands are more important than ever because they provide an anchor of trust and credibility in a sea of dynamic, continual change,” Micho Spring, global corporate chair at Weber Shandwick says.

The report goes on to say that “radical changes caused by the internet, globalisation, NGOs/third parties, diminishing returns on traditional media, a more demanding general public and increasing social activism have created a new dynamic where the company behind the brand is becoming as or more important than individual brands themselves.”

Seven in ten consumers claimed to avoid buying a product if they didn’t like the company who made it and more than half (56%) said they hesitate to buy products if they can’t tell who makes them.

Corporate brand is something consumers are actively inspecting with 67% checking product labels to see what company is behind the product and 56% researching companies to find out what they’re like.

As part of the study, Weber Shandwick also interviewed executives from the US, UK, China and Brazil. These business leaders agreed with consumers on the importance of corporate brand, with 87% believing them to be as important as individual assets, and 86% having taken action to enhance reputation in the recent past.

Meanwhile, on the topic of advertising influence, business executives disagreed with consumers, attributing a higher efficacy (86% among business sample) to the ability of advertising to influence reputation than consumers (56%).

 

The study titled ‘The Company Behind The Brand: In Reputation We Trust‘, was conducted by KRC Research, with 1,375 adult consumers and 575 senior executives in companies with revenue above $500 million in the US, the UK, China, and Brazil.