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Strong ESG performance pivotal to consumer trust


Oslo, 16 June 2022 – Consumer trust is integrally linked to a brand’s ESG perceived performance.

That is the key finding of a study, launched today in Oslo, Norway, that examined consumer perceptions of 15 global brands. Consumers are becoming more aware of ethical corporate behaviour, according to the ‘Trust and the new ESG’ report.

The research examined the perceptions of 6,500 consumers from Germany, France, the UK and the US. It covered 15 global top brands: Apple, Amazon, BMW, Coca-Cola, Disney, Facebook, Google, Louis Vuitton, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Nike, Samsung, Tesla and Toyota. The research was carried out by Brandr, which examines the emotions that people associate with brands, and Leidar, the Advocacy, branding and communications consultancy.

Trust is fundamental for a brand’s continued success. We now know that ESG is a core part of that trust. Certain people, particularly in the finance sector, might deride the concept of ESG but consumer brands do so at their peril. This is going to become a particularly important message if the negative predictions for the world’s economy come true, creating a temptation to drop ESG work because it might not help the bottom line. We’ve shown that to be a false economy.

Dr. Lukasz Bochenek, Leidar

It was very striking that governance is as important as environmental measures, with the social element also gaining prominence. The clear lesson is that companies need to take a holistic and thorough approach to ESG.

Brands can no longer afford to see ESG as a nice to have that can be outsourced to external consultants. It has to be part of every company’s everyday life. Consumers are sophisticated enough to understand the difference between cheap words and reality.

Dr. Fridrik Larsen, Brandr

The most important metric is the correlation between trust and the combined average of the ESG dimension, which clearly indicates a positive relationship between brand trust and the perception of ESG factors: The full ‘Trust and the new ESG’ report contains further details about all the findings, including results by country and by demographic.

Download the full report below

Rolf Olsen

CEO, based in Geneva

Rolf Olsen launched Leidar in 2010 and continues to lead the company as CEO.  He advises clients on strategy and narrative development; crisis management; and complex reputational issues on a global scale.

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