New research by Trustpilot has found that 49 per cent of Australians now consider a brand’s stance on social, political and environmental issues before buying products or services.
Additionally, 94 per cent believe that a brand’s honesty and transparency is important when it comes to purchasing decisions.
The research surveyed 1,000 Australian consumers and looked at the factors that may affect and impact a consumer’s purchasing decisions.
The results reveal that brands which ‘appear to be dishonest or boastful in their marketing’ by over-exaggerating their environmental impact were the biggest turn off for Australians.
- This comes as 55 per cent (549) of respondents said it would make them unlikely to purchase from the brand.
- The second highest, at 54 per cent (541) was brands that have ‘unfair or harmful practices’ against employees and suppliers.
- Thirdly that brands that ‘ignore customer experiences and feedback at 51 per cent (514).
This suggests customer service remains a high priority to consumers, despite the shifting retail landscape from bricks-and-mortar to online.
The research also asked consumers where they go to find out independent information about a brand’s honesty, including its position on social, political and environmental issues before making purchasing decisions.
The top three sources were: social media (46 per cent), friends and family (45 per cent), user-generated reviews websites (43 per cent).
In contrast, 32 per cent of consumers said they would seek out this information from mainstream media such as TV and radio.
This reveals the growing power consumers now hold in influencing how other consumers spend, over more traditional sources.
Alicia Skubick, chief marketing officer at Trustpilot, said: “While more brands are working to reflect the big issues of the day by adopting ethical stances, this research shows that they need to not just act with purpose, but also with integrity — really understanding and representing the values of the customers they are trying to target.
“Our research gives brands a roadmap to honesty ensuring they connect to the growing numbers of consumers who want political, environmental, or sociological issues taken seriously.
“The reality is — thanks to the growing number of consumers sharing and seeking information from independent sources such as review platforms and social media — brands which aren’t acting with their customers’ values in mind now risk being left behind.”
“These days a business is no longer what it tells you it is, but what the consumers say it is.”
Cameron Buckley, country manager ANZ, said: “Australian consumers are now aligning themselves with brands that truly stand for something and act on their words, whether that is in relation to social, political and environmental issues. Australians expect more and are beginning to make brands more accountable on the issues that matter most to them.”
“This research outlines what matters most to Australian consumers and brands should take note that consumers are no longer only looking at the fundamental attributes of a product or service, and this provides an opportunity for brands to evolve their brand purpose in the new year.”
The research was commissioned by Trustpilot as part of its report, Brand integrity: the final frontier for marketing, which aims to find out how much consumers care about the honesty of brands they shop with.
In a world of declining trust and misinformation, Trustpilot works to connect businesses with consumers by gathering open, honest feedback, which helps consumers shop with confidence and businesses improve their service. The report comes as part of the company’s aim of becoming a universal symbol of trust.