‘Brands can’t be too transparent’: Singapore Gen Zs

A new survey of Gen Z consumers by Devries Global Singapore showed that while transparency in comms is important, going 'too far' might reveal a falseness in intent.


Based on a new survey by IPG PR firm Devries Global, a significant 96 per cent of 400 Gen Z respondents in Singapore indicated that they are willing to pay a premium for brands they deem transparent. On top of that, a massive 99 per cent agreed that they would recommend a brand that is open and honest about their operations and services. A transparent brand could mean more honest advocacy, and the tendency of getting away with higher pricing next to competitors.

But the surveyed group added that brands should define their idea of transparency, and that ‘too much’ transparency can be a bad thing. One respondent said that if a brand was too transparent, consumers might think of it as an advertising strategy.

“This is a smart and informed generation that values and demands transparency but understand that businesses aren’t perfect,” said Li Ting Ng, director of innovation & client experience at DeVries Global Singapore. “The challenge then is to figure out what transparency means to your business and how you can commit and communicate it in a way that builds trust and credibility. Not transparency for the sake of it.”

When it comes to reasons to boycott a brand, a majority of respondents attributed unethical corporate practices as a factor. False advertising, animal testing and personal negative experiences are also listed as key reasons; but interestingly, detriment to the climate only affected 12 per cent of respondents.

The factor that most influenced purchasing behaviour is product reviews with over 76 per cent saying that positive reviews even outweighed recommendations from social media, family and friends as well as price points. Of course, a brand’s reputation holds high regard with 39 per cent saying it affected their purchase decision. Once again, impact to the environment was the least considered factor.

The brand content that respondents mostly engage with include authentic pictures and personal experience details. This means that perfectly curated brand visuals on social media might be dying a death, at least according to Singaporean Gen Zs.

Overall, respondents said that the pandemic has caused an ‘information overload’ and are largely bothered by false information. This group of digital natives showed to be hyper-aware and distrustful of information online.

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