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Consumer trust, issues and corporate reputation

Consumer trust, issues and corporate reputation

When it comes current affairs, climate change, obesity, irresponsible drinking, smoking risks and high crime are at the top of the agenda for British people.

But, for the majority of Americans, climate change doesn’t even register.

Instead, obesity, smoking risks, oil supplies, high crime rates and heart disease gain their attention.

These findings are from a new study launched today by market research consultancy Millward Brown on who consumers trust, issues that they are concerned about and attitudes to more than 100 key corporates.

The Top 10 issues consumers have heard a lot about recently were:

UK      

1.  Climate change (85 per cent)

=2. Obesity (84)

 

=2.  Irresponsible drinking (84)

 

4. Risks of smoking (81)

 

5. High crime rates (74)

 

6. Personal debt (67)

 

=7. Heart disease (61)

 

= 7.  Fair trade (61)

9. Advertising to children (59)

=10. Dieting issues (58)

=10.  Making poverty history (58)

 

 

USA

1. Obesity (77)

2. Risks of smoking (69)

 

3. Oil supplies (63) 

4. High crime rates (59)

5. Heart disease (58)

6. Diet issues (55)

7. Off-shoring jobs (54)

8. Corporate corruption (54)

9.  CEO salaries (54)

10. Irresponsible drinking (51)

Global brand director at Millward Brown and the lead researcher on the study, Peter Walshe, said, ““Brits are far more environmental than the Americans”.

According to the study, 55 per cent of British people said they had bought a fair trade product.

However, boycotting products because of these beliefs is low. 87 per cent of Brits and 89 per cent of Americans said they believed companies should behave in a responsible manner, yet only 4 per cent of British people (5 per cent in the USA) make the decision not to buy a product because of company ethics.

Not trusting the company, not liking the company’s ethics or working practices or the company’s reputation were key reasons.

Walshe added, “It seems consumers 'buycott' (support causes they like) rather than boycott to punish companies.”

Top of the list of companies being applauded for their efforts on the environment were BP, Tesco, Body Shop and the Co-op.

Of particular relevance to businesses is the fact that having a corporate social responsibility policy is not as effective in changing consumer opinion (only 11 per cent of people think it’s important) as leadership in your field (47 per cent) and doing the basics (42 per cent) such as consumer fairness and product quality right.

Other key highlights from the study included:

- Obesity was a top consumer issue in both the UK and USA. One in five of us (21 per cent in UK) claimed that we would cut down on usage of products from companies associated with causing obesity (this was 14 per cent in the USA).

- The majority of consumers (95 per cent in the UK and 94 per cent in the USA) say they trust the opinions of friends and family more than doctors, non-profit organisations, charities, academics, sportsmen and women, Non-Government Organisations, government organisations, journalists, celebrities, bloggers and politicians.

In fact, politicians were the least trusted of the bunch (nine per cent in the UK and 11 per cent in the USA), half as much as bloggers (15 per cent in the UK and 20 per cent in the USA).

- British people are more likely to buy products and services from a company that is active in the community (48 per cent); carbon neutral (27 per cent) labelled fair trade (26 per cent) and involved in RED (11 per cent).

People had a low reaction to moving jobs overseas – only 7 per cent of British people and nine per cent of Americans said they would definitely stop buying products and services from companies which have moved overseas.

During December 2006 and January 2007, Millward Brown interviewed 20,307 consumers in the UK and USA (10,012 in the UK and 10,295 in the USA).

AJR
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