Customers Keen To Know More About Companies Behind Brands

Consumers want to know the companies behind the brands.

The recently released Weber Shandwick research study, The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust, shows conclusively that consumers around the globe are making product and brand purchase decisions based on company reputations.

Additionally, the survey shows that customers use several methods to find out who manufactures and sells the products and brands being considered, including reading labels and conducting their own research.

This study shows that:

·         67% of consumers increasingly check product labels to see what company is behind the product they are buying

·         70% will avoid buying a product if they do not like the company behind the product

·         56% hesitate to buy products if they cannot tell who makes them

·         61% get annoyed when they cannot tell what company is behind a particular product or brand

·         56% conduct their own research to learn more about the companies that make what they intend to buy

Consumers are keen to know what a company is doing to (or for) the environment, where products are being manufactured, and how the employees are being treated. A good example of this last point is the storm that has erupted in the past week about how the employees at a manufacturing facility making Apple products are treated. In just a few short days, over 110,000 people have signed an open petition asking Apple to intervene with their supplier as there are no labor laws in China to protect these staff.

In addition, there are now calls to boycott Apple products and a New York Times article last week was headlined “In China, human costs are built into an iPad.”

Another source of information for consumers is the BrandKarma website, where anyone can rate a brand or company on the quality of their products, how well they treat people, and how well they look after the planet. Apple, which scores high for Product Karma, has a cumulative below average score for both People Karma and Planet Karma.

The Weber Shandwick survey report states, “As consumers around the world have greater online access to a brand’s lineage, the influence of the brand parent, or company behind the brand, matters even more.”

The bottom line, as we wrote in the Monday Morning Marketing Memo this week, is that corporate reputations and corporate image actually matter more than ever and they have a major impact on the sales performance of brands and products. To think (or act) otherwise is simply foolish.


  • By Dharanidhar Malladi, January 30, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

    Steven, this article along with the survey results in it should be an eye-opener for many firms who treat brand, customers and employees as isolated entities.
    Any Brand is a Three- Dimensional Entity (Products/ Services, Customers and Employees). What most of the companies overlook (or sometimes forget) the existence of the third dimension of it – The Employees. As a result, they mistake it to be a two- dimensional entity – A Logo (lifeless image) but not a three- Dimensional Entity- the Truth.

    Dharanidhar Malladi

  • By Steven Howard, January 30, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    Dharanidhar: you are absolutely correct.

    Unfortunately, too many companies have a different definition of the three-dimensional approach (with a focus on products/services, executive compensation, share price).

  • By Michael B., January 31, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    Great article Steven. Internet and social media have opened new doors for customers, who today are more informed than ever. Businesses have no other choice but to initiate the dialog with their target audience, which in most cases take place at a personal level.

  • By Steven Howard, January 31, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

    Thanks for your comments Michael.

    Not only are consumers more informed than ever, their access to information is EASIER than ever. Thus the hurdle of “it’s too hard” to know about the companies behind brands has all but evaporated.

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