4 key insights on brand communications

Brands need to build back trust from consumers. We conducted a study in 2017 looking at trust in news, coming after the referendum in Britain and the US elections that saw Donald Trump popularise the term of ‘Fake News’.

Speaking to consumers back then we asked them about social media as a source of news content. Over a half of consumers questioned in the study stated they used social media as a news source, however only one third of them say they trust social media platforms as a source. Discover more about our ‘Trust in News’ study.

Fast forward to our DIMENSION 2019 study, we are finding similarly low levels of trust across various types of media. To build up trust, how do brands communicate with audiences in an effective and genuine way?

We pulled out four key takeaways from our webinar – Authentic Communications in a Mistrusting World – based on key findings in the report of the same name.

1. Authenticity is key!

Consumers want you to be authentic, they don’t differentiate between PR and advertising. According to our DIMENSION study, 49% of connected consumers in the UK trust the brand information they find online, but 64% of Brits consider brand messages appearing in news and articles online as advertising. Authenticity and transparency are key in how brands communicate with their target audiences. Consumers are going online to seek brand information and place trust on what they find there. And so the risk and opportunity riding on every facet of a brand’s communication increases.

2. Brands are walking a tightrope

Easy access to information, knowledge and opinion, and the opportunity to share and converse online, has made everyone an expert. Only 34% of British people say they their opinions of brands are influenced by what they read about them online, however 30% of consumers are influenced by the online comments and reviews of others. The net result: if a brand is seen to step out of line it can be called out, and its error rapidly shared far and wide.

3Traditional media is still a trusted source

Newspaper and magazine articles are a real opportunity to deliver a brand’s message authentically. Whilst only 25% of connected consumers proactively go there for information, once there 53% of respondents trust what they find. This, in turn, can help to drive help to drive increased consumer trust in brands communicating an authentic message through these means.

4. Demonstrate the strategic value of communications

We need to measure the impact of communications in a way that gives us a 360-degree view. More and more we are using measurement techniques which are traditional to advertising to track the success of integrated campaigns. These include attitudinal and behavioural metrics such as brand equity and econometric modelling. Independent media analysis, fuelled by media monitoring and consumer research, can provide rich insight for measuring the impact of earned media strategies.

Catch up on the original webinar and the rest of the DIMENSION series here.

DIMENSION is our latest thinking on some of the biggest communication planning, buying and measurement issues faced by the industry. We interviewed 5,000 connected consumers (aged 18+ with at least 2 internet connected devices) and 58 industry practitioners across five of the world’s largest markets – Brazil, China, France, UK and US. Explore the full DIMENSION data here.

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