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Consumer trust crucial for brands amid economic crisis

Sixty percent of consumers are sticking to brands that they trust, especially in times of crisis, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.

International Advertising Association Malaysia (IAA Malaysia) president John D. Chacko said during a crisis, consumers take notice of brands that ‘stand by’ them and show that they care.

He said inadvertently, such brands secure customer confidence and loyalty, adding that this is the case with both multinationals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “Besides generating economic value, brands play a critical role in fueling economic recovery through innovation, creativity and optimism. They convey the source, quality and authenticity of products and services.

“Trust provides consumers with peace of mind that they have made the right choice,” he said at IAA Malaysia’s “Why Brands Matter” webinar recently. The webinar highlighted insights from industry leaders on how brands can ignite trust among consumers while contributing towards resetting corporate Malaysia on the path to economic recovery.

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd CMO Mohamed Adam Wee Abdullah said gaining customer trust can be an arduous task for brick-and-mortar businesses, even for brands that have been established over the decades. He said this is an era of brand fragility where brands that have been built over time and can be destroyed overnight. “What’s important is for brands to be genuine. “CIMB has partnered with an e-commerce solutions provider earlier this year to help local SMEs without digital presence to leverage on an online store platform, providing a complete suite of complementary services and efficient digital payment platforms for these merchants,” he said.

Mohamed Adam added that as a brand, the move also helped set CIMB on the right path of being relevant to the country’s growing gig economy dominated by the millennials and Gen Z.

JT International Bhd (JTI Malaysia) corporate affairs and communications director Azrani Rustam pointed out that while brands have a significant role to play at a time when economies need rebooting, they need to be protected against challenges and threats that impact innovation and erode brand equity.

“In times of economic crisis, there will be a natural threat to brands whereby consumers will compromise brand power for value, which could be manifested in the demand for cheap illegal products.

“There is a need to protect brands against threats as it affects the larger economic contribution of investments and jobs, should companies pull back on resources invested in developing brands,” he added.

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