Two new studies have highlighted ongoing challenges for businesses as consumer trust dwindles and brand loyalty becomes a thing of the past.
New independent research, The Truth Report 2018: The trouble with Real People conducted by strategic marketing and advertising agency FKC, reveals that 51% of consumers are unable to identify a favourite brand at all and 74% often feel confused by brand advertising and messaging.
FKC polled 2,032 people and found that tour operators (41%), department stores (35%), shopping centres (32%), car brands (34%) and casual dining (33%) were all highlighted as sectors with poor consumer loyalty. Of those that could name a favourite brand, Amazon came top of the loyalty league, followed by Tesco and Asda.
Stephen Fox, chairman at FKC, said: "Our research has shown that the heady, halcyon days of unquestioning consumer loyalty are long gone. The sea of consumer choice has diluted customer commitment to brands."
According to the new Trends in Customer Trust report by Salesforce Research, 54% of consumers don't believe that companies have their best interests in mind.
A critical issue is the way that businesses use customer data. Overall, 84% of consumers say they're more likely to trust a company with their personal information if the company can explain how it will provide a better customer experience. This is especially important to millennials and Gen Zers (with 91% agreeing), compared to 78% for baby boomers and traditionalists.
The survey also shows, however, that consumers prefer data-driven, targeted communications. Over half (54%) of customers say the marketing messages they receive aren't as relevant as they would like them to be; and 53% say they expect the offers they receive from businesses to be personalised. In addition, 84% say being treated like a person - not a number - is very important to winning their business.
Those brands that do win the trust of consumers have a significant advantage - 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust, 93% are more likely to recommend a company they trust and 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses.