TRUST AND RESPONSIBILITY
Inspiring confidence with new reasons to trust
At a time when consumers are feeling uncertain about so many aspects of daily life that they used to take for granted, they are looking to brands they can trust to help them navigate the “new normal”.
For brands, trust has often been thought of as the result of doing everything else right. But when there is a crisis of trust, it’s important to have a proactive strategy in order to build and nurture it.
Brand trust used to be closely connected with longevity. If the bank branch had been in a city center for as long as consumers could remember, it could safely be assumed to be reliable. Likewise, the FMCG products that have been on shelves and in household cupboards for years are the ones that people know they can count on. Familiarity and trust have traditionally gone hand in hand.
Now, consumers are seeking a slightly different kind of reason to trust. This requires brands to do more than fulfil a functional promise and do it consistently over time. Consumers now want to know they can trust brands to source products and ingredients responsibly. They want suppliers and staff to be treated fairly and with respect. And they want to be sure that the environment is not being harmed.
Being a responsible, ethical brand takes real commitment. Today’s discerning and resourceful consumers know when a brand’s CSR activity is a PR stunt, and no amount of tree-planting, litter-picking and public donations to worthy causes will redeem a brand found to be faking sustainability.
This year’s BrandZ results show the impact on consumers and on brand value of being seen by consumers as a reputable, sustainable brand. Brands with the highest reputations for sustainability are around 60 percent more valuable than brands with the lowest reputations for sustainability.
Zara, Mercadona and Iberdrola are three of the Top 30 brands least affected by the downturn this year; Mercadona only lost 4 percent of its value (compared to an average across the Top 30 of 15 percent), and Iberdrola actually managed to increase its brand value by 15 percent.
It is no coincidence that these three brands are the Top 30’s leaders on the BrandZ measure of reputation, RepZ. And while they are super-strong on Salience, they also have much higher Meaningful Difference than other brands in the Top 30.
Who’s responsible? How Spanish brands measure up
At first glance, the brands in the Spanish Top 30 this year perform fairly well when it comes inspiring consumer confidence, with an average Trust index score of 107 compared to 100 for the average Spanish brand, and a RepZ (reputation) score of 138.
But cast the net a little wider and it becomes clear that “quite good” probably isn’t good enough. When compared to the most valuable brands from other markets, Spanish brands have plenty of work to do if they are to build consumer trust and confidence.
Trust, innovation and sustainability can all work together to build on traditional areas of strength, such as heritage. Estrella Damm (27th in the ranking, down just 4 percent this year) is a shining example of how this can be achieved. The brand has for many years used strong associations with the Mediterranean in its communications, focusing on the fun of a summer spent by the sea. Its messaging has shifted in the past year, however, and now has a strong sustainability element. It talks about the Med less as the place where the party happens and more as a place that needs protection.