Australian consumers have become hyper-aware of the "what’s happening throughout the world", resulting in questions over the authenticity of brands, products and services.
We asked Delon Wang, Trends Manager, Asia-Pacific at Mintel whether an increasing focus on market education and information-sharing in the digital age has changed how we consume news.
“With such easy access to this, consumers across the world are increasingly knowledgeable and fully equipped to form their own perceptions of things—be it right or wrong,” observed Delon Wang, Trends Manager, Asia-Pacific at Mintel.
As a result, consumers throughout the world are “putting more thought and care into what they are consuming on a day-to-day basis”.
“Additionally, the lack of consumer trust that we are experiencing today is also attributable to the sheer amount of safety scares all around the world—again, through information and news that is delivered straight to consumers’ devices,” Wang stressed.
Commenting on how the decline in consumer trust is a global phenomenon, Wang waged that the Oxford Dictionary made ‘post-truth’ its word of the year. The Edelman Trust Barometer also held that trust lowered across all four institutions of government, business, non-governmental organisations and the media.
According to Mintel data on the UK, for example, only 53% of consumers say they trust the food and drink industry to ensure food and drink are safe for consumption. This number lowers to 39% among beauty and personal care consumers.
So, how is this affecting brands' marketing strategies? Should they transform their campaigns to rebuild trust, reliability, and credibility?
Exploring whether consumers are now sceptical of the messages and ideals that beauty and personal care companies are presenting, Wang added: “Scepticism has always existed to a certain extent but gaining the trust of consumers today is going to be even more arduous than before.”
Market intelligence agency Mintel released its trend ‘Prove It’ states that today consumers are conducting their own research and expect proof before purchase.
“Building trust is definitely one aspect brands can adopt into their marketing strategies and cut through the clutter to reach consumers today,” revealed Wang.
Brands can successfully communicate this to achieve higher levels of trust through facts.
Mintel’s research shows that 51% of Chinese consumers aged between 20 and 49 state that ‘high-quality products’ have a transparent production process.
Trust plays a fundamental part in how consumers in Australia engage and react to brands.
Getting consumers involved in the innovation process develops connectivity, credibility and loyalty, as shoppers feel valued and that their voice is being heard.
“A new kind of expectation is emerging among consumers—and that is to participate not only in conversation at the back end but to also be part of a company’s ideation process from the very beginning,” Wang commented.
“Deteriorating faith in institutions of government, businesses, non-governmental organisations and the media has created doubt and confusion among many, weakening consumer trust worldwide,” added Shelley McMillan, Trend & Innovation Consultant, ANZ, at Mintel.
Packaging can influence
Stating that packaging can be designed to create trust, depending on the goal of the product, Wang uses natural/organic products as an example, as these can “engage in minimalist or environmentally friendly designs to send across a message”.
QR codes or augmented reality technology that allows a user to scan for information to help them better understand a product’s origin, and ingredient information and sources can also be used to achieve this.
“Clear, simple descriptions can help consumers better understand the product’s source and avoid any deceptive claims,” Wang outlined.
The second part of this article will be published on Tuesday 16th January 2018.