Consumers all over the world report that brands set a low bar for the experiences they deliver and struggle to keep up with consumers’ expectations, but new research suggests we think brands have simply accepted their limitations and now just make empty promises. According to brand experience agency Jack Morton, over 52 percent of consumers report that brands fail to live up to the promises they make and one-third see overpromising as “just something that brands do.”

The firm launched its first global Experience Brand Index, a survey of 6,000 consumers across the United States, United Kingdom and China. The research, which covered 100 brands and 10 industries, asked consumers to rate varying brand experiences—comparing what a brand promises versus what it delivers.

Globally, brands that scored high in delivering proof to their promises (through the experiences they create) boast 25 percent more loyalty and more than a 200 percent higher Net Promoter Score (NPS), indicating strong brand health—and showing that satisfaction with the actions and interactions of brands is a stronger indicator of business impact than brands’ marketing messages.

Half of all consumers skeptical about brand promises—and demand proof

The brand experiences included in the index cover the actions and interactions provided by brands—in-store and employee interactions, online shopping, web and mobile experiences, experiential and social content. The index ranked brands from 1-100.

Amazon, Netflix and Royal Caribbean rank as Experience Leaders (#1) across all experience touchpoints in the US, UK and China respectively and only four other brands consistently show up in the top 20 across touchpoints: Sony, Apple, IBM and IKEA. However, even those that score high teeter on the edge of mediocrity with a B- grade (79). Meanwhile, Experience Laggards—brands at the bottom of the Index—receive a failing grade (on average: 53.6).

Top-rated brands by proofpoints and geography:

Half of all consumers skeptical about brand promises—and demand proof

“Consumers demand brands do more than promise a great experience—they expect proof. Brands that back their words with concrete action reap bigger rewards, and they scored significantly higher on Jack’s Experience Brand Index,” said, Josh McCall, CEO & chairman of Jack Morton, in a news release.

Half of all consumers skeptical about brand promises—and demand proof

The research outlines five key lessons:

Brand proof matters and is a stronger indicator of brand health than brand promises

Experience brands deliver more than 200 percent higher NPS and 25 percent more loyalty.  Consumers care in particular about “how brands behave toward customers, employees and their communities.” 79 percent care about this.

Brand integrity is delicate

Customers will abandon brands if they don’t live up to your promises:  nearly half (47%) agree “it makes me feel I can’t trust the brand and won’t buy it anymore.”

Brand touchpoints are proofpoints

Every interaction matters and the most successful Experience Brands deliver consistently across all interactions with consumers and actions.

Brand promises fall short on delivery

More than 50 percent of consumers agree that brands fall short of their expectation. In China it’s 60 percent. Less than one in four consumers say brands deliver experiences that are significantly better than their competitors. However, Experience Brands are nearly two times more likely to deliver a superior brand experience and be worth talking about.

Brand proof is only going to get more important

Changing generational tides give new focus for brand owners: Millennials are the most distrustful of brands (36% globally) and 41 percent in the U.S. believe that brands do not live up to their promises and “want me to believe it is something it’s not.”

Download a copy of the report here.

Half of all consumers skeptical about brand promises—and demand proof

The study is based on a survey across all demographics in the United States, United Kingdom, and China conducted in the late spring of 2018.  Respondents were asked about their interactions with brands during the last six-months.

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