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What consumers want from brands in 2014

Jul 02, 2014 Liesbeth Dambre

InSites Consulting asked 6,975 consumers around the globe to share their 3 priorities for brands in 2014. It is clear that consumers want companies to offer them the best possible product/service (35%) and a great customer service (20%) above everything else. And to make that happen, they want companies to actively listen to their needs and wishes (16%). Second, being innovative (15%), eco-friendly (15%) and honest (14%) are greatly valued by the global consumer.

Consumers keep on raising the bar for companies

At first view these results may not be that striking. The core of a company’s business, being their product/service, is the most important factor for a consumer to choose a certain brand. But how can a brand stand out?

We can conclude that, despite the global economic crisis, consumers keep on raising the bar for companies. Especially people in emerging economies have high demands. (BRIC countries and Eastern Europe) have high demands. The same holds for Italy in the South of Europe, which is under economic pressure. Consumers in Brazil (74), Romania (70) and China (69) have the highest expectations of all, based on an index composed of 21 possible wishes that consumers from the 17 surveyed countries could have.

The rising middle class in emerging markets is demanding. They expect brands to help them improve their living conditions. But Brazilians also score the highest of all countries on reducing the impact companies have on the environment (32% see it as a top 3 priority) and on being honest (22%), while China tops the list when it comes to expecting brands to be unique (28%). These elements show that, once the basic needs are fulfilled, other and different expectations that are locally relevant pop up.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Japan is by far the country where consumers are expecting the least from brands in 2014 (index of 29). It is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technology, marketing and retail channels. It is interesting to see that in such an advanced society, ‘honesty’ scores extremely high. In Brazil, consumers want brands to keep their promises and to be honest about the ingredients they use and quality in general. In Japan, the concept is elevated towards an overall company value.