Dawn Langland is Senior Vice President & Senior Partner of Brand Marketing, FleishmanHillard.

You can reach her at Dawn.Langland@fleishman.com

Day 5:

Lost Reputation = Lost Business Earning Brand Loyalty in a Fickle, Crowded World

If women consumers are a key to your business goals in 2015, here are some insights you should have as you look to next year.

We asked women in the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil how they would respond to different types of bad news involving a company whose products they buy. Here’s what we learned from them as primary purchase decision-makers for their family and household:

  • If they find the company is discriminating against women, 3 in 4 women in the U.S. and Brazil say they will stop buying the company’s products or services. In China and Brazil, it’s 2 out of 3 women.
  • In the event of a financial scandal, at least two-thirds of women in all countries will stop buying from the company.
  • A data breach, according to the survey, will result in 2 of 3 U.S. women halting their purchases from that company. In Brazil, it’s 85 percent.

Of course, how people respond to a survey question can be different than a real-life situation. But this is proof of the public’s interest in how a company does business and the real ramifications of behavior and reputation.

Consumers today dictate whether and how they will engage with a company or brand.

Are you ready for those terms?

Our new Women Power & Money survey asked women in four countries how they choose to communicate with brands and companies online. The official website remains the most important meeting place, but Facebook is neck-and-neck with email globally as the second most used channel. Among U.S. millennials (age 18-29), Facebook is now the No. 1 channel to brands, with a critical mass developing on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Managing these engagement points – using them to develop and grow relationships – continues to be a major opportunity in 2015.

Reading YouTube comments can sap your faith in humanity. But here’s something that offers hope: people are much more motivated to share something great than they are in sharing a disappointing experience. Among women in the U.S. and China, it’s a 3-to-1 for the yay-sayers. Roughly a third of women say they’ve posted 2 – 5 product or service reviews. All the glory will go to those companies who get their positive stories in front of consumers just waiting for an excuse to share.

Brand extensions are colliding with channel proliferation, and it’s confusing the people you want to do business with. We asked women in four countries if they feel overwhelmed by too many choices in the marketplace, and they said yes. Financial services and investment products are the most overwhelming, but there is abundant confusion across beauty and grooming products, home electronics and automobiles – and even apparel. As you plan for 2015, ask if your brand story can be told in ways that reduce the confusion and anxiety of shopping.

Step back and look at how people are taking in the world around them. They’re searching for success and happiness in a universe of difficult, sometimes overwhelming issues and threats. You want your star to shine bright and to be a welcome, productive part of their lives. We asked women to tell us their top concerns, and not surprisingly, the main things they worry about are family, finances and safety. Purchasing the right product or service is important — just not as important. But consider this: a supportive relationship with your workforce is a shared value that people appreciate, and it transcends what you actually do. By stepping back, you can see opportunities to make deeper, emotional connections that will drive your success.

If you’re interested in more insights to use in your 2015 plans, please contact us. We’re happy to schedule a webinar with you and your team.