Post-pandemic - the world is facing an uncertain socio-economic future.

Trust in governments and institutions around the world is at a historic low.

Now - people are turning to brands to lead the way and solve the enormous economic and environmental concerns we all have; that current leaders simply seem unable or unwilling to address effectively.

In a special report by research firm Edelman, an eight-country study [which included South Africa], shows that the vast majority of consumers across markets, ages, incomes and gender say that brand trust is essential to buying.

Consumers reveal that:

  • A major consideration for brand purchase is now “I must be able to trust the brand to do what is right,” at 81 percent.
  • More than 70 percent link purchase to considerations that historically were tied to trust in corporations, including supply chain, reputation, values, environmental impact and customer before profit.
  • 53 percent of consumers agree that every brand has a responsibility to get involved in at least one social issue that does not directly impact its business.

Trust is the key.

Consumer want to be able to trust that a brand will keep their data safe and guard their privacy at all costs.

Consumers want to be assured that the brands they support are not wilfully polluting the environment or exploiting communities.

Consumers want to be sure that brands are paying their fair share of taxes.

Consumers want to be sure that brands are not peddling disinformation or hiding behind a bank of lawyers, accountants or overly complicated terms and conditions.

Trust in brands is a key driver of change that will have a significant impact on the prospects for companies in 2021, but there are others too.

If you are starting to put together thinking and strategies for 2021 - you might find it useful to see the other factors on my list that you should be paying attention to in preparation for the new year ahead.