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Brands are failing to build meaningful customer relationships – study


Brands are failing to build meaningful customer relationships – study


Brands are failing to develop mutually beneficial relationships with customers. 92% of Australians want a meaningful interaction with brands, but only 12% believe they are doing a good job.


The findings from public relations firm Edelman’s second annual Brandshare study also include that:

  • 79% of Australians consider brand relationships to be “one-sided with limited value”, and

  • 81% believe brands are only motivated to build relationships out of a “self-centred desire to increase profits”.

The study found Australian consumers had higher expectations and were more cynical than the global average. On average, 87% of global consumers want a meaningful interaction with brands and 17% are satisfied they are doing a good job.

66% globally saw brand relationships as one-sided and 70% believed brands were self-centred and motivated by profits when building relationships.

Global chair of consumer marketing at Edelman, Michelle Hutton, said:

“Consumer expectations have become much higher for brands and people expect to get more out of these relationships than they’re currently receiving. Consumers are sharing content and information about themselves, making purchases and recommending brands, but don’t feel they are getting much in return.”


Consumers want brands to meet societal needs

The study revealed a relatively new consumer desire for brands to meet societal needs as well as their rational and emotional needs.

  • 85% want brands to respond quickly to their concerns and complaints,

  • 73% want them to communicate information about their supply chains openly and transparently, and

  • 43% want to take part in the development and refinement process.

Edelman found that societal needs go beyond traditional corporate responsibility and sustainability – brands need to share with customers their clear purpose and vision to change the world.

Brands that successfully meet all three needs experience an average of 11% boost in consumer actions. For example, purchases increase by 11% and recommendations by 12%.

“Meeting the rational and emotional needs of consumers is vital to repairing the broken value exchange between consumer and brand, but it’s not enough,” said Ben Boyd, president of practices, sectors and offerings. “Their societal needs have to be met as well. And when that occurs, there is a quantifiable impact on the relationship between brand and consumer as well as the brand’s bottom line.”


Michelle Herbison

Assistant editor, Marketing Magazine.

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