Consumer cynicism in developed markets appears to be increasing and recent research by Alterian suggests that nearly two thirds of consumers in the UK and over half in the US say corporations are ‘only interested’ in selling products.
As the face of the company, advertising and marketing communications have to engender trust in the consumer.
According to a spokesperson from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) there are two critical factors to achieving this – firstly all claims have to be substantiated and backed up by the company, and secondly marketing must remain faithful to the spirit of these claims.
Respect for self regulatory systems
In addition, companies need to be seen to be respecting the self regulatory bodies and systems set up to monitor advertising.
In the UK this would be the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which is thought by many consumers to be a government body when in fact it is an industry funded self regulatory organisation.
“When consumers see a strong watchdog that is policing the industry they are more reassured that advertising is being properly regulated,” the spokesperson told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
Furthermore, strong support of industry specific codes that are constantly being adapted to changing societal sensitivities are needed and must be supported by companies wishing to retain a trustworthy reputation.
An example could be the increased sensitivity towards advertising aimed at children, including the increased sexualisation of young people, the spokesperson said.
Value of social media
Social media was highlighted as being one of the best ways for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition.
“The opportunities of social media definitely outweigh the risks,” the spokesperson said.
“As a brand there are tools available now that give you unprecedented access to engaging with consumers, but this needs to be done in an honest, intelligent and communicative way.”
Social media allows for the possibility of engaging with consumers not as consumers but as people with a stake in the brand, the spokesperson explained, adding that feedback from consumers about the brand, products and how it is marketed can shape future marketing strategies in an important way.