Brands cannot underestimate the power of consumers if they wish to get ahead, an expert has advised.

According to Heather Smith, marketing director at Aviva, consumers are “no longer passive procurers”.

Instead, they are able to see, hear and share everything and collectively use their power to “besiege” an organisation they do not trust.

As a result, brands need to bear this in mind when they are trying to target certain segments of their audience with a marketing campaign.

Ms Smith pointed out that the economic crisis dented consumer trust in a number of industries, in particular financial services.

This, she said, prompted regulators to look at a new approach to scrutinising businesses, in order to ensure certain standards are met.

However, Ms Smith noted that this coincided with an explosion in the use of social media, with user-generated content and sharing of material becoming the norm.

“Brands found themselves operating in a goldfish bowl, with consumers and regulators – rightly – keeping a watchful eye,” she commented.

Ms Smith therefore believes that next month’s general election could be a turning point in influencing consumer-focused regulation in the future.

She added that building trust can take a long time, which means action needs to be taken sooner rather than later.

Therefore, she believes consumers will “pounce” on those brands that fail to meet the required standards should the regulators call for improvements.

Is winning consumers’ trust the biggest challenge brands face today?, Marketing Magazine


Posted by Robin McCrink