|April 20, 2017||0|
As consumers continue to embrace innovation from brands, they question brands’ motives to innovate and believe brands are innovating only for the sack of money, the latest brand study from Edelman reveals.
Tilted “Innovation and the Earned Brand”, the report is a global survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries, in which more than 1,000 participants are from China.
The world we live in today is changing fast, especially in China where digital technology is booming. It’s no surprise that Chinese consumers view innovation as an essential component of society’s progress (94%), and they believe it’s the responsibility of business to drive innovation.
However, delivering innovative ideas doesn’t mean consumers will buy into your brand – your motive matters to them.
The report shows that 67% of respondents assume business-led innovation is motivated primarily by the desire to make more money, where the majority of respondents believe innovation comes at a personal and societal cost.
In view of this, the research highlights that consumer acceptance of brand innovation cannot be bought, instead, it must be earned.
The report shows worryingly that 90% of Chinese respondents won’t purchase a brand mostly because of privacy concerns (58%), followed by environmental impact (52%) and security concerns.
“It seems innovation in and of itself is not enough to be liked, trusted or bought,” said Carol Potter, executive vice-chairman of Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
“We find consumers simultaneously are positive about the benefits of innovation, but at the same time, anxious, uncomfortable and sceptical about the companies that bring it.”
That means, while the promise of innovation inspires, consumers first need to be reassured, and definitely not by being bombarded by the brand’s communications.
The study shows that two in three respondents think brands are not moving in the right direction in how they communicate. They feel brands are shouting at them, with more than half of the respondents in China (52%) claiming to be frustrated by constantly being told to upgrade their products.
Meanwhile, two out of three respondents believe brands are not moving in the right direction in the ways they listen and communicate with them.
With a lack of reassurance coming from brands, consumers are turning to their peers for reassurance about their concerns over innovation. Today, peers can even help to convert purchasers in China, the report suggests.
About 41% of Chinese respondents say peer conversations make them trust the brand more, help them overcome concerns (30%), help them make decisions (31%) and warn them of risks (37%) about a product or service.
“The peer’s experience with a product’s innovation has become the evidence consumers are now relying on when making purchase decisions,” said Ernest Tan, Edelman China’s national consumer chair.
Consumers are also expecting brands to provide platforms that enable these peer-to-peer conversations.
About 82% of Chinese respondents say they trust a brand more if it’s easy to review products and services and they are equally more trusting (81%) of brands that encourage peer-to-peer conversations about their products.
“Brands win if they power peer conversations with platforms and meaningful context, and understand that the right to innovate is earned,” Tan said.
So, what exactly do they need from brands when it comes to innovation? Edelman collected four points for brands’ references:
To better communicate with potential customers, here are four brand behaviours the study suggests to reassure consumers with innovations.
1. Inform transparently so they can educate their audience to enable them to make personal choices.
2. Operate with purpose and show how they fit into the bigger picture and are active participants in society.
3. Live with character that is true to themselves and have a personality their audience can buy into.
4. Make your mark by doing something unique or differentiating that is worthy of attention.