The heat is on for companies.
Seismic shifts in our cultural, social and political landscape have changed our relationship with brands. People now expect companies to be stepping up and speaking up in new ways, making corporate purpose integral to reputation – and to the bottom line. Top issues are also evolving – Canadians considered affordable healthcare, data security and data privacy, and violence against women as bigger issues than the global average.
FleishmanHillard HighRoad works at the intersection of brand and reputation. When what you say matches what consumers say about you, you can create authentic engagement with audiences, build a competitive advantage, and insulate yourself from potential issues down the road.
But what happens when brand behaviours fall short of our changing expectations?
We call this the authenticity gap. It is the central issue that every organization must address today. And it’s the centrepiece of our 2019 global research survey, which measured some of the most familiar companies in Canada and around the world across 20 unique sectors.
The stakes are high. More than half of engaged consumers told us their beliefs and perceptions of companies are now shaped by how management behaves and how the company is having an impact on society. Authenticity gaps increase vulnerabilities in a crisis, hurt leadership’s credibility and dent stock prices.
Looking at Canada specifically, here are just some of the top line findings uncovered in the 2019 Authenticity Gap Report:
Banks have a serious customer care deficit
Banking has the highest expectation of customer care across all 20 industries studied. This is also the highest expectation of any driver in every industry. However, there is a very large shortfall versus consumer experience. This is the industry’s largest gap, the largest gap in customer care, and the largest gap in every driver, across all industries.
Consumer electronic companies have mixed performance delivering customer benefits
Customer Benefits (better value, customer care, innovation) make up two-thirds of expectations of the Consumer Electronic Devices industry. Better value dominates industry expectations – this is the highest better value reading across the industries studied. But better value has the largest authenticity gap in the industry and all companies including Apple, Bose, GoPro and Huawei have gaps.
Care of environment flashes a warning sign ahead for industrial companies
People are focusing on how industrial companies may impact the environment, making care of environment the dominant Industrials driver. But the industry shows a very large gap, with every company in the industry falling short of expectations of care of the environment.
Media companies falling short in communications
Unsurprisingly for an industry whose lifeblood is delivering reliable, trustworthy information, credible communications is the industry’s top ranked driver. This is the highest credible communications measure across all industries, three times larger than any other industry.
In summary, people have always cared deeply about important issues. But now we expect companies to have a voice and play a role in solving them. We encourage you to reach out to us to learn how learn how some of the world’s biggest brands can drive more authentic engagement with their customers.