Are Consumers “Falling Out of Love” With Brands?

February 14, 2014

Mindreader-Consumer-Interest-Sharing-Brand-Info-Feb2014A couple of new studies take a look at consumers’ relationships with brands, with one arguing that consumers are “falling out of love with brands” and that “brands are in crisis.” Indeed, Mindshare’s “Culture Vulture 2014” finds that only 47% of North American consumers last year agreed that they like to pass on interesting things they see or hear about brands, with that figure having steadily fallen over the past few years, from 66% in 2010.

The analysts take that as a sign that “a majority of brands are seeing their relationships with consumers weakening,” and that brands need to better adapt to consumers’ expectations. (Here’s a list of those brands doing best at meeting customer expectations.)

The Mindshare study findings come after a study late last year from Edelman found that few consumers feel connected with brands. Interestingly, that study indicated that consumers aren’t that interested in brands making the sharing experience easier, but instead want to be asked about their needs, be listened to, and be invited to test products and provide feedback.

Another area in which brands can improve? The relevance of their messaging. Some 34% of US online adults responding to a new Responsys study indicate that they have “broken up” (yes, the Valentine’s Day-themed terminology must continue) with a brand due to receiving poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages. These break-ups were most commonly due to the brand continuously sending irrelevant content on multiple channels (53%), but also were frequently because the consumer never signed up to receive the offers from the brand (42%). (Brand stalkers!) Finally, one-third broke up because the messages were too generic and “obviously meant for the masses, not just them.” Aww, make ’em feel special, brands!

What’s the takeaway? Relevance matters. This is by no means not the first study to suggest that, nor will it be the last. In fact, just recently, Janrain released research finding that almost all consumers have received information or promotions not relevant to them, with more than 9 in 10 developing an unfavorable attitude to the company in response or taking some kind of action to limit the messaging.

On a brighter note, Responsys finds that:

  • 57% of US adults say the brands they love reward them for being loyal customers with special discounts and coupons;
  • 32% say these brands only send offers/promotions they’re interested in;
  • 72% indicate that when a brand they love rewards them for being loyal, it makes them want to have a long-term relationship with the brand; and
  • 59% sometimes choose one brand over another simply because of the marketing offer they received.

About the Data: The Mindshare results are based on a survey of 2,000 North American consumers. The Responsys data is based on a survey conducted by Harris Interactive among 2,035 US online adults from January 14-16, 2014.

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