Are retailers and consumers misaligned on trust?
Businesses believe they are much more trusted than they actually are by both consumers and employees because executives are misreading what moves the needle on trust, according to PwC’s “2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust.
The study finds business leaders focused on social issues like ESG (environmental, social and governance), with 50 percent of executives strongly agreeing that their companies invest in and stand up for social and racial equity. By comparison, only 27 percent of consumers believe companies that invest in social and racial equity are more trustworthy.
Other areas where execs are misaligned with consumers and employees around trust:
- Forty-five percent of businesses believe new climate disclosures will help build trust with customers versus 23 percent of consumers agreeing. Forty-seven percent of businesses believe climate risk disclosures build trust with employees versus 33 percent of employees agreeing.
- Forty-five percent of executives are focusing on transparent communications to build trust with both stakeholder groups. Only 13 percent of consumers and 19 percent of employees rank this as a priority.
The study found “day-to-day realities” are demanding more attention in determining trust in corporations.
Asking consumers what builds corporate trust, the top three answers were: affordable products/services, 34 percent; treats employees well, 33 percent; and variety of high-quality products/services. Good corporate citizenship ranked sixth, at 20 percent.
Asking employees what builds corporate trust, the top three answers were: treats employees well, 47 percent; provides a variety of high-quality products/services, 22 percent; and leadership admits to mistakes quickly and honestly, 21 percent. Good corporate citizenship was fourth, at 20 percent.
Overall, 87 percent of business executives think consumers have a high level of trust in their businesses versus only 30 percent of consumers that say they do. Eight-four percent of business leaders say employee trust is high, compared to 69 percent of employees.
While several studies in recent years have found consumers favoring companies that are committed to sustainability and take public stances on social issues, an August 2021 YouGov study found a majority of global consumers (62 percent) prioritize the price of the product or service when considering a retailer purchase, with only 25 percent prioritizing the retailer’s values.
- Trust: the new currency for business – PwC
- How many consumers prioritize brand values when picking tech products? – YouGov
- /amo’s Annual Global Corporate Values Study Shows Increased Emphasis on Innovation, Stakeholders and the Environment – /amo/Business Wire
- 80 Percent Of Gen Z Adults Want Companies To Take a Stand – Mitechnews
- New Meyocks survey shows consumers want brands to mentor them – The Meyocks Group
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think builds trust in companies among consumers and employees? Where does corporate social responsibility factor in building trust, and is it often overrated?