US

The Authenticity Report – US ​Headlines
2017
Politicians are eight times less credible than friends, family and colleagues

For many years studies have tracked a decline in respect for institutions and the establishment. Knowledgeable friends, family and colleagues (33.6%) are about eight times more credible than politicians (4.3%), twice a credible as leaders of companies (16.7%) and almost 50 percent more credible than mainstream print (24.9%) and broadcast media (23.8%).

 

Customer care tops Innovation as dominant driver across most industries

Customer care is the No.1 driver in nine industries surpassing innovation which is No. 1 in seven (of the 21 industries studied). But customer care does not exist in isolation. Innovation that delivers better customer service and experience – not just new products – is key to better customer care. This is true even in an industry built on innovation: Internet Services.

 

Balance is critical: companies who focus only on Customer Benefits fail to tell the story their stakeholders expect to hear

People’s expectations of companies are not all focused on the drivers that make up Customer Benefits (better value, customer care, innovation). Expectations of only four industries over index on Customer Benefits. In seven industries Customer Benefits are less than 50 percent of what people expect. And in a further ten industries, Customer Benefits range from 50 to 56 percent. The outtake? Companies also need to meet expectations on the drivers that make up Management Behaviors and Society Outcomes.

 

In nine industries doing right ranks as a top three driver

But expectations of doing right are being exceeded in just four of 21 industries studied. Twelve industries are falling short and five are only just meeting expectations of doing right. Companies need to identify and understand what being more committed to doing the right thing means in their industry. This will help them tell a more complete story to stakeholders.

 

Consumer expectations of better value rank top three in 18 of 21 industries studied

Better value is the single most important expectation in our 2017 study. This reflects the fact that for many take-home pay in real terms is stuck at around pre-crash levels. The stock market may be near record levels, the unemployment rate is down and the economic outlook is improving but value for money continues to be a major concern for most people.

 

Gaps in care of the environment in unexpected places

Most surprising is that the Personal Care Products industry has the largest gap between expectations of care of the environment and people’s experience at -10.9%. This is significantly higher than industries where gaps are predictably high: Energy (-7.5%), Consumer Electronic Devices (-7.4%), Industrial Companies (-4.6%), Automobiles (-4.1%) and Household Large Appliances (-3.1%).

 

Employees twice as likely to be believed as company leaders

People find employees and people who work in the company (31.6%) almost twice as credible as company leaders (16.7%).

 

The demand for customer care is highest in Airlines, Hotels, Insurance and Managed Care

Customer care is the top driver by far in the service centric industries of Airlines, Hotels, Insurance and Managed Care/Health Insurance. Expectations of customer care in each of these industries are in excess of 30 percent compared to an average in other industries of only 16.1 percent. Customer care is the top driver in every industry in the Financial & Professional Services sector.

 

Expectations of credible communications is the lowest across all industries

Of the Nine Drivers, credible communications has the lowest median expectation of all 21 industries studied. In fact, in 15 industries’ expectations of frequent and credible communications rank in the bottom third of drivers. In an age of “alternative facts” companies are struggling to be heard and believed.

 

For “disruptor” companies six of eight have innovation as the No. 1 driver

Innovation, customer care and doing right are on average the top three experiences people have of the eight disruptor companies we looked at. This combination of new ways of approaching business that simultaneously look after customers and are perceived as doing the right thing is a powerful cocktail with the potential to disrupt and reshape many industries.