So what do customers value the most in a brand- price, quality, innovation or uniqueness? In an interesting revelation, a global survey by KPMG has found that customers value the authenticity of a brand more than its uniqueness or even its innovation, writes Shwetha Satyanarayan
In last October, when Gucci announced its plan to ban fur in all its future products, it created quite a stir in the fashion industry. The purpose was crystal clear- ‘Gucci is a well-known brand and we need to use it in the positive way’. Many brands are now paying more attention to values, which go beyond the price or quality of a product. And this transition is not without a reason. According to a global survey by KPMG, the conscious customer movement has steadily picked up pace globally and this trend will only continue to grow.
As per the study, millennials are driving this movement which will be carried forward by the next many generations to come. “Authenticity is the key to unlock the wallets of customers of all ages. But millennials have had a deep impact on the generations that came before them and as well as the one that comes next,” the study said.
With as much as 73 per cent of the respondents in the survey (all millennials) wanting an honest brand, customer expectations on transparency is likely to grow higher. “Customers want the companies they buy from to practice sustainability, strong ethical behaviour and transparency. Customers want to buy an honest brand,” the report says.
Trust quotient in the e-commerce era
But in this age of e-commerce where the marketplace is overcrowded, and a same product is available on two different sites at two different prices, how do you ensure authenticity? “It’s true that trust deficit is a major concern in the e-commerce age. Since anybody and everybody can be a seller online, the onus lies on a brand to ensure that only authentic products go to the market,” suggests SaleBhai, an e-commerce platform co-founder Vishwavijay Singh.
With customers being more tech savvy than ever before, the study suggests that in the competition between marketing strategies and authenticity, it is the latter that will emerge as a winner.
Further, stressing importance on the evolution of technology and how it has played a key role in creating high expectations among consumers, the report, said, “The technology has made it easier than ever before for shoppers to consume information, find products or services and easily share their experiences. This has resulted in new customer expectations that have created a new retail world,” said Singh.
The survey has warned that if brands don’t sell honesty, they will have to pay a price of losing their customers. “Retailers have to be authentic and transparent, but they also need to communicate this in a sophisticated and trustworthy way, or consumers may turn to another brand,” the report concludes.