Consumers abandon brands that violate their personal values, survey finds

More than two thirds of consumers say their personal values influence their buying habits, and almost half have abandoned brands they believe to have violated them, according to a global survey of consumers and marketing professionals.

The recent Gillette campaign focused on issues around sexual harassment and 'toxic' masculinity
The recent Gillette campaign focused on issues around sexual harassment and 'toxic' masculinity

Meanwhile, the survey also found a surprising level of complacency among UK marketing leaders, less than half of whom said they were either very or quite worried about the effect of a potential crisis on their brand.

This, despite more than three quarters of consumers and business decision makers telling the survey - conducted across Europe, the US and Australia - they would stop working with a brand that handled crisis comms poorly.

The survey, for Hotwire, was carried out Sapio Research over two months to January 2019 and interviewed 650 chief marketing officers and senior comms professionals at B2B and B2C companies, plus nearly 700 business decision makers at B2B and B2C companies.

Researchers also spoke to more than 6,200 consumers across eight countries to arrive at their conclusions.

UK consumers told the survey that the top issues that had led them to ditch a brand so far were the environment, Brexit and a lack of transparency, with the retail and packaged food and drink sectors most at risk of falling foul of changing attitudes.

British consumers told the survey they wanted to see brands taking a stand on issues around mental health, sexual harassment and Brexit.

Hotwire said the survey results showed marketing and comms professionals were dangerously out of step with consumer thinking on the issues they care about.

Mat Cross, managing director of the agency in the UK, said: "It's intriguing that when asked which crisis issue their business should take a stand on, UK business decision makers didn't rank sexual harassment within the top ten… the disconnect between business leaders and consumer expectations is something which marketers should address."

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