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brandshare™ 2014: How brands and people

collaborate to build a value exchange
brandshare™ is Edelman’s signature marketing-focused global study. Grounded in quantitative data,
brandshare is designed to serve marketers and communicators by unearthing rich insights into people’s
ever-evolving attitudes and perceptions about how brands deliver value to them, and its reciprocal impact
on driving value for the brand.
In Edelman’s 2013 brandshare study, we proved a consumer desire for brands to be more transparent,
participatory and engaging at every point along the product development and marketing cycle. The
research also proved a correlation between this type of brand behavior and business outcomes, as
measured by increased likelihood of both purchase and recommendation.
In 2014 we focused deeply on the value exchange between brands and people, exploring whether people
believe it exists and how it can add value to a brand. Our goal was to assess if people’s needs have
evolved, whether brands are successfully meeting these needs, and understand the business outcomes brands
enjoy when they do.
brandshare™ study methodology
We partnered with Edelman Berland to survey 15,000 people in 12 countries about the performance of
nearly 200 brands within 11industry sectors. We asked people to evaluate the importance of 14 brand
behaviors and evaluate how effectively a selection of brands perform on those behaviors. The business
outcomes we evaluated are: likelihood to purchase, recommend or defend a brand; propensity to share
branded content with their own social networks; and willingness to share their personal data with a
brand. We also queried respondents about nine consumer need states to more holistically understand the
relationship between brand behaviors and the fulfllment of these needs.
Key Themes for 2014
People believe their relationships with brands are one sided. There is little value exchange.
For a value exchange to exist, both brands and people must contribute to and beneft from their interactions.
Our analysis concludes people do not believe this happens today. Two thirds (66%) of people believe
their relationships with brands are “one sided” – that they are the sole contributors, while brands are the
sole benefciary. Seven out of ten people (70%) believe that when brands engage, they are motivated
exclusively by a desire to increase profts rather than a commitment to people.
While the majority of people (87%) want meaningful interactions with brands, few people (17%) believe
brands deliver this depth of engagement. The gap is particularly pronounced in the areas people value
most – responsiveness, involvement and conviction. 78% of people say it is important for brands to respond
quickly to concerns and complaints, but only 17% feel brands are performing well. Moreover, 68% of
people indicate it is important for brands to communicate openly and transparently about sourcing and
manufacturing practices, yet only 15% feel brands are successfully living up to their expectations. And lastly,
58% say the clarity of a brands’ conviction is important, and only 21% feel brands are delivering. These
gaps represent opportunities for brands to connect with people in new and measurably impactful ways.
People around the world and across generations are remarkably similar in their assessment of brand
relationships, and assess brand performance similarly across each industry sector evaluated.
Brands must fnd new ways to fulfll people’s emotional needs
There is a common belief that meeting emotional needs leads brand relationships with people, and meeting
rational needs provides the reasons to believe. Our 2014 brandshare study reveals that consumers’
emotional needs are met by a seemingly-broad set of brand behaviors. In fact, emotional needs are most
strongly met when brands adopt behaviors such as “quickly responding to people’s concerns and complaints”
and “giving many ways to ask questions and give opinions”—behaviors that seem entirely rational,
but successfully meet both rational and emotional needs. Further, data shows that collectively meeting
emotional and rational needs more successfully drives people to act (vs. just meeting emotional or rational
needs alone). When brands meet these combined emotional and rational needs, people are more likely to
purchase (9% increase), recommend (11% increase) and defend the brand (5% increase) than if only their
emotional needs are met.
The rise of the new consumer need state: Fulflling ‘societal’ needs drives business value
This year’s study also revealed the emergence of a third consumer need state – societal needs (as defned
by people’s confdence that a brand cares about things other than itself, people feel good about a brand’s
commitment to its community and people’s belief in a brand’s core purpose and mission). Meeting these
societal needs goes far beyond traditional defnitions of corporate responsibility or sustainability. For
example, inviting people to be a part of the development and refnement process of products and services
is the third strongest driver of satisfying societal needs. Why does it matter? There is a notable correlation
between meeting these broadened societal needs and sparking people’s likelihood to share their personal
information and brand content.
Bottom line, when a brand behaves in ways that meet emotional, rational AND societal needs, consumers are
more likely to act – brands receive a compound beneft that holds true across markets. Specifcally:
• Likelihood to recommend and share brand content increases by 12%,
• Likelihood to share personal information increases by 11%,
• Likelihood to defend increases by 10%, and
• Likelihood to purchase increases by 8%.
Today’s value exchange requires:
1. Storytelling And Storysharing: Brands must recognize that participation comes in many
forms and should create the spaces where consumers can become part of the story.
2. Conviction And Commitment: Brands must evolve to be inclusive of not only promise
but also purpose.
3. Always On And Always Adapting: Brands can be more responsive by applying a
“listen, learn, and adapt” approach to engaging in real time.

By focusing on all three customer needs states, while paying attention to the broader defnitions of emotional
and societal needs states, brands will move away from a transactional relationship with consumers to one
that is fuid and multidimensional.