Germany

The Authenticity Report – Germany ​Headlines
2017
Are companies practicing or advertising being ‘green’?

Over the past 30 years, studies have seen growing public sensitivity to environmental issues and sustainability. In 2017, care of the environment is the No.1, 2 or 3 ranked driver in 12 of the 20 industries we studied. But 71 per cent of all companies have authenticity gaps, the most of any driver. Perhaps consumers feel companies are ‘greenwashing’, spending more advertising themselves as ‘green’ than they spend on environmentally sound business practices?

 

Politicians are five times less credible than friends, family and colleagues

For many years, studies have tracked a decline in respect for politicians and the establishment. Knowledgeable friends, family and colleagues (30%) and employees (29%) are about five times more credible than politicians (6%) and over three times more credible than company leaders (9%).

 

High performance in consistent performance – but beware

Nearly three quarters of all companies are exceeding expectations of consistent performance. But managers beware: consistent performance generally ranks low versus the other eight drivers. However consistent performance ranks in the top three drivers in three industries. And all are industries where precision is critical: Medical Devices & Diagnostics, Chemicals and Investing. All broadly match or exceed expectations of consistent operational and financial performance.

 

Expectations of credible communications are the lowest across all industries

Of the Nine Drivers, credible communications has the lowest median expectation of all industries studied. In fact, frequent and credible communications are not in the top three expectations in 18 industries. In an age of ‘alternative facts’ companies are struggling to be heard and believed. Is it time for companies to make being credible a priority in their communications?

 

Eighty per cent of Tech companies have gaps in innovation

Expectations of innovation ranks No.1 in all industries in the Technology sector. But all industries have gaps: Consumer Electronic Devices (-4.5%), Enterprise Services (-2.9%) and Internet Services (-10.6%), which is the largest innovation gap across all industries we studied. How do individual companies fare? Not well; almost 80 per cent of companies in these industries have gaps.

 

Expectations change as working conditions come to light

Generally, almost 60 per cent of all companies in the study broadly match or exceed expectations of employee care. Which industry has the largest shortfall? The Apparel industry has the largest average gap (-3.7%) with seven of eight companies falling short of expectations. As consumers have become more attuned to the poor working conditions often associated with clothing production, people expect companies to take care of the people who work for them or their suppliers.

 

People don’t know who to turn to when sorting fact from fiction

In a time of more and more fake news circulating about companies, we asked what sources of information people find most credible. Most concerning for the media industry is that one quarter of people found none of the seven options* credible when sorting facts from fiction about a company. This is a remarkable 50 per cent more than those who find mainstream broadcast (17%), print (17%) and social media (14%) credible.

(*Broadcast, print and social media, employees, company leaders, politicians, and friends/family/colleagues)

 

Eighty-one per cent of service companies fall short on customer care

Expectations of customer care is the top ranked driver in six service-centric industries: Airlines, Hotels, Medical Devices & Diagnostics, Banking, Beer & Spirits and Food Retailers. Expectations of customer care are on average 30 per cent higher than the No.2 driver in each of these industries. But 81 per cent of the 48 companies we studied are falling short of expectations.

 

Innovation is the No.1 driver for seven of eight ‘disruptor’ companies

People look to ‘disruptors’ to offer innovative ways of doing business – their experience of innovation is the No.1 driver for seven of eight companies. Experience of Innovation, customer care and better value are on average the top three experiences people have. These three drivers make up Customer Benefits and offer customers a powerful cocktail that challenges the status quo.

 

People seeking sustainability in balanced expectations

In many industries, consumers are seeking sustainable relationships with companies that goes deeper than transactions. Mangers need to recognize that overall expectations of Management Behaviours (doing right, consistent performance, credible communications) and Society Outcomes (employee care, community impact, care of environment) make up 57 per cent of all expectations studied. Customer Benefits (better value, customer care, innovation) make up only 43 per cent. Seventeen industries have Customer Benefits below 50 per cent and in five industries, under 35 per cent.