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No amount of CSR will help, if your product isn’t great

Brands have a credibility problem and in a world where bad news spreads like wildfire, this isn’t an issue brands can ignore. While brands might be tooting their horn over the contribution they have made towards society and environment, Cohn & Wolfe’s latest study on what it means to be an authentic brand shows otherwise.

The study says that consumers are constantly looking for daily, real-life reminders that they can count on brands. In defining authenticity, they prioritise “high quality” (66%) and “delivering on promises” (70%) over more lofty measures like “social responsibility” (57%) and “environmental responsibility” (55%).

The study finds that today there is a large “authenticity gap” between brands and consumers, with 75% of nearly 12,000 consumers surveyed across 14 markets indicating that brands and companies have a credibility problem.

In Singapore, only 13% of the respondents believe that brands nowadays are open and honest. But not all hope is lost. Despite this high cynicism towards brands, 86% of Singaporean consumers will have positive attitudes towards what they view as authentic brands.

Globally nearly nine out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity. If a brand is able to capture the consumers’ hearts, 52% would recommend the brand to others and 49% who would pledge loyalty to the brand, say the study.

Also 20% would be prepared to put their money on the table and invest in a brand that proves its authenticity.

Here’s a look at some brands that have nailed authenticity:

1-10 11-20


“The rules of communication have irrevocably changed, and we’re seeing consumers reward brands that understand how to engage with them openly and honestly. In fact, consumers will forgive the occasional corporate misstep if a company is upfront, and addresses the issue head-on,” Donna Imperato, CEO,  Cohn & Wolfe said.

So what are some of the three key drivers of authenticity:

1) Reliable: Consumers rate brands as authentic when they “deliver on promises” and are of “high quality”

2) Respectful: These brands “treat customers well” and “protect customer data and privacy” – a key concern for consumers across markets.

3) Real: Brands that rate high on this driver “communicate honestly” and “act with integrity.”

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