The swift rise of “cancel culture” means the online and social brands we frequent and follow need to watch their step—more and more consumers have stopped or will stop using their services because they don’t like the way they are treated.
The reasons they feel mistreated run the gamut. New research from PR and comms firm Brands2Life reveals that personal issues such as poor customer service and privacy & security come out on top, but broader concerns such as CEO behavior—the way they treat staff and vulnerable groups—as well as workforce diversity and respect for the countries they operate in also rank highly.
These are the key conclusions of the firm’s new report, Walk the Talk: What Consumers Expect from Today’s Online Brands.
Why have people stopped using an online brand?
Overall, 41 percent of consumers have stopped using, or use an online brand less, because of poor reputation or malpractice. Unsurprisingly, poor customer service (15 percent) is the main reason why consumers have stopped using or have reduced their usage of an online brand.
Other factors why consumer have taken this action, in terms of importance, include:
- “Because they treat their workers and suppliers unfairly” (9 percent)
- “Because they don’t pay enough tax in my country” (8 percent)
- “Because they haven’t taken action to reduce their impact on the environment” (8 percent), and
- “Because they haven’t taken enough action to protect a user’s privacy and security” (8 percent)
Reasons to use a brand more
Here are the top reasons consumers say that they are more likely to use a brand:
When it comes to marketing, their key demand is that the brand is authentic and honest. Twice as many people called this out compared to the next three most important: “Marketing that educates and informs me”; “If friends and family use them,” and “If their marketing entertains me.”
“Online brands dominate all our lives today and we all know that their business models are under increasing scrutiny from regulators and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Giles Fraser, co-founder of Brands2Life, in a news release. “This report illustrates that they need to just alert as to how consumers see them and their behavior. If they don’t offer best-in-class customer service and display the highest standards of corporate citizenship the consumers will simply stop using them.”
The report is based on a survey of 6,001 consumers across France, Germany, UK and US and was undertaken in December 2019 by research firm Opinium.