Global Updates

Brand experiences don’t live up to expectations, study finds

Jack Morton launches inaugural Global Experience Brand Index, revealing half of all consumers are skeptical about brand promises.

Global agency, Jack Morton, this week launched its first Global Experience Brand Index, a survey of 6,000 consumers across the United States, United Kingdom and China.

The research, which covered 100 brands and 10 industries, asked consumers to rate varying brand experiences – comparing what a brand promises versus what it delivers.

Around the globe, consumers report that brands set a low bar for the experiences they deliver and struggle to keep up with consumers’ expectations. In fact, more than 52% of consumers report that brands fail to live up to the promises they make and one-third see overpromising as “just something that brands do.”

“Consumers demand brands do more than promise a great experience – they expect proof,” says Jack Morton CEO & chairman, Josh McCall (pictured below). “Brands that back their words with concrete action, reap bigger rewards and they scored significantly higher on Jack’s Experience Brand Index.”

Globally, brands that scored high in delivering proof to their promises (through the experiences they create) boast 25% more loyalty and more than a 200% higher Net Promoter Score (NPS), indicating strong brand health. Showing that satisfaction with the actions and interactions of brands is a stronger indicator of business impact than brands’ marketing messages.

The brand experiences included in the index cover the actions and interactions provided by brands: in-store and employee interactions, online shopping, web and mobile experiences, experiential and social content.

Amazon, Netflix and Royal Caribbean rank as Experience Leaders (#1) across all experience touchpoints in the US, UK and China respectively and only four other brands consistently show up in the top 20 across touchpoints: Sony, Apple, IBM and IKEA. Meanwhile, Experience Laggards, brands at the bottom of the Index, receive a failing grade (on average: 53.6).

The research outlines five key lessons:

1. Brand proof matters and is a stronger indicator of brand health than brand promises

Experience brands deliver more than 200% higher NPS and 25% more loyalty. Consumers care in particular about “how brands behave toward customers, employees and their communities.” Seventy-nine per cent care about this. In China, that number is highest at 83%, with Millennials feeling most strongly about this (88%).

2. Brand integrity is delicate

Customers will abandon brands if they don’t live up to your promises. Nearly half (47%) agree “it makes me feel I can’t trust the brand and won’t buy it anymore.” In China, this is also the case with 48% of Chinese consumers losing trust in the brand if it doesn’t deliver its promise.

3. Brand touchpoints are proofpoints

Every interaction matters and the most successful Experience Brands deliver consistently across all interactions with consumers and actions.

4. Brand promises fall short on delivery

More than 50% of consumers agree that brands fall short of their expectation. In China it’s 60%. Less than one in four consumers say brands deliver experiences that are significantly better than their competitors. However, Experience Brands are nearly two times more likely to deliver a superior brand experience and be worth talking about.

5. Brand proof is only going to get more important

Changing generational tides give new focus for brand owners: Millennials are the most distrustful of brands (36% globally) and 29% in China believe that when a brand does not live up to its promises it “wants me to believe it is something it’s not”. In spite of this, millennials are more willing to give a brand a second chance compared to other age groups.