WE Communications Study Finds 92% of Aussies Think Brands Should Be Clear On What They Stand For

WE Communications Study Finds 92% of Aussies Think Brands Should Be Clear On What They Stand For
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

WE Communications has released results from its latest Brands in Motion report, “The Bravery Mandate.

The WE Brands in Motion report is a worldwide study of how perceptions shift over time, conducted by WE and YouGov. Now in its fifth year, Brands in Motion has surveyed 90,000+ consumers and B2B decision-makers about their attitudes regarding:

  • Expectations for brand actions and investments
  • Forces affecting the market on a macro level
  • Expectations for purpose initiatives
  • Industries

The latest data exposes escalating tension between expectations for brands to drive stability in a fast-changing, fractured world and heightened scepticism about purpose-washing.

Despite those rising expectations, brands’ perceived impact for societal good remains flat, with 57 per cent of Australian respondents (vs. 52 per cent globally) saying that attempts to impact societal issues are anchored in trying to sell more products or services.

This contradiction puts brands in a tenuous position – one where they are expected to speak out, but their intentions will be continuously questioned.

Consumers and B2B decision-makers are voting with their wallets to measure brand support. Two out of three Australian respondents say they are more likely to purchase or recommend products or services from brands that address societal issues that matter to them.

CEO, Melissa Waggener Zorkin of WE Communications, said: “We’ve reached an inflection point where people are craving businesses to fill the leadership void.

“To be the driving force of positive societal impact, brands should ask themselves, ‘If not us, who?’ and take bold, brave action.”

“Purpose is now mandatory, impacting immediate commercial outcomes as well as a brand’s long-term legacy.

“Purpose determines not just which brands stay viable in the next few years but which will endure for years to come.”

Over the past five years, Brands in Motion global studies have surveyed more than 90,000 consumers and B2B decision-makers worldwide to understand the impact of how perceptions shift over time. This year’s study uncovered two main themes:

A Divided Audience:

Although nearly two-thirds of Australian respondents want brands to speak up and act on societal issues, more than one third (39 per cent) do not. Navigating this divide requires active engagement with key stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, customers and community members, to illuminate long-term goals and values.

WE Australia, managing director, Dan Woods, said: “Consumers have told us that brands must listen to their primary stakeholders to decide what issues to address and  92 per cent of Australian consumers said brands should be clear on what they stand for.

“Brands who rise to these expectations are those who will be prepared to actively listen to feedback and who have the courage to take action on the back of it.

Zorkin added: “We are communicating to a sophisticated audience, one with unprecedented levels of information and data at their fingertips.

“Any action a brand takes must be real, concrete and measurable because there is no more room for compromise or hedging.”

It’s A Marathon And A Sprint:

The Brands in Motion report dug into expectations when it comes to defining and demonstrating brand purpose. It’s clear that expectations are high and at times nuanced taking a stance on social issues requires agility and long-term commitment.

61 per cent of Australian respondents said brands must act or communicate at least weekly on topics of importance to be a leading voice, supported by sustained action. Seventy-two per cent of Australian consumers prefer that brands make multiyear investments in one issue rather than invest in a new cause every year.

The study found that staying quiet and checking boxes, though, will not serve brands. In Australia, 74 per cent of respondents say brands should reassess policies and communications in light of societal issues at least every six months, and half said at least every three months.

Zorkin said: “A brand’s purpose platform must be consistent enough to ground it, flexible enough to evolve with the times, and clear enough to navigate the inevitable unknowns.

“It’s time for brands to fear less and do more.”

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Dan Woods Melissa Waggener Zorkin WE communications

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