The changes in perception of reality caused by the pandemic and the socioeconomic crisis have a decisive impact on the relationship that companies and institutions maintain with their reference audiences. Specifically, informed consumers show that The authenticity gap with companies is born by analyzing the relationship and attention they provide to their customers and by considering their social impact.
This is reflected in the report ‘The Power of Authenticity’, which reflects the experience of OmnicomPRGroup for more than ten years exploring the alignment between consumer expectations and experiences with respect to brands.
As explained OmnicomPRGroupthis year the authenticity gap in Spain and Portugal has been measured for the first time, delving into the opinion of 1,000 informed consumers in 10 key sectors of business activity.
[Ni el Blackfriday ni la Navidad evitan el frenazo económico: las ventas de las empresas se dejan 10 puntos en un mes]
Along these lines, Higino Martínez, CEO of OmnicomPRGroup, affirms that “the authenticity gap is an active listening gear that allows companies and institutions to be part of the life of their audiences. Knowing the value of society constitutes a point starting point for reflection on the entire business strategy embodied through the points of contact with each of its audiences”.
And he added that “a new strategy that finds in communication the motor to respond better to this examination of the social agents and that today acts as a vector of reputation”.
Returning to the study, this is carried out through the analysis of the nine factors that shape consumer perceptions and beliefs: added value, customer service, innovation, employees, social impact, environmental care, ethical management, sustainable results and credible communication.
Environmental aspects, the fair distribution of business profits, working and salary conditions in certain sectors or the importance of the relationship with the communities where they work define to a greater or lesser extent the gaps found in the different business sectors.
[El poder adquisitivo de los trabajadores españoles se desploma en 2022 y encadena ya tres años de caídas]
Thus, the Report suggests that Medium and long-term analysis of these risks is a key vector for reputation, since it can not only improve business strategies, Rather, it allows analyzing how the company’s communication is in each area to help reduce the different authenticity gaps that are identified.
The pandemic has had an accelerating impact on the demand towards brands and how they position themselves before their audiences. As detailed in the Report, if before the pandemic the weight of authenticity rested on their behavior and impact on society, Now, informed consumers place customer service and the perception of the benefits of the goods or services offered as a weight parameter, leaving the social impact and business management in the background.
Thus, we see that informed consumers believe that companies must demonstrate that they implement consumer protection practices, while being culturally aware of the reality in which they operate and listening to the needs and desires of all their customers. Companies and institutions that want to be authentic must commit to change, even before consumers believe their promises, and demonstrate their contribution in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Professionals, sustainability and innovation
The informed consumers analyzed in the study carried out by OmnicomPRGroup affirm that the gap is minimal when it comes to measuring business management, ethical and responsible behavior or having a stable financial and operational framework, and these are aspects that show the rapprochement between expectations and consumer experiences.
On the opposite side, consumers continue to demand adapted and individualized strategies, stories and messages to demonstrate their true contribution to the well-being and development of society. In this sense, and unlike other years, the 2022 Report places business professionals as the first reference audience for any business strategy, since they consider them one of the pillars for achieving business results.
For his part, Sustainability continues to be a highly internalized aspect in society and, therefore, where there is a slight gap or distance with consumers who demand greater commitment, visibility and more ambitious policies from companies.
In addition, Consumers demand that companies continue opening channels of communication and direct attention with their audiences, rethinking the services offered to reduce the gap in attention and customer service and transform the effort made into new growth opportunities. Derived from this gap, innovation is located, an area that, despite concentrating a large part of a company’s human and material efforts, consumers identify an important gap in it that has not been closed in recent years.
From a strategic point of view, in 2022 de la Brecha shows that the visibility and involvement of the senior management of a company or institution has established itself, and informed consumers appreciate that business leaders take sides and position themselves on the issues that affect to society.