Brands need to clean up their financial act says new Mindshare report

The public consider companies evading tax, paying board members far more than other staff, and failing to pay staff a living wage as worse than damaging the environment according to media agency Mindshare’s latest Reality Check report.

The report emphasises the effect that the cost-of-living crisis has had on public attitudes towards brands. While issues such as protecting the environment remain important to people regardless of age and demographic, businesses’ financial conduct is now the top priority for customers.

When asked what a “good” brand should be doing the most popular answer was creating employment at a fair wage (43%) followed by prioritising families during the cost-of-living crisis (41%), and supporting/looking after their staff (41%).

Financial issues also topped the rankings when people were asked what made a brand “bad”. Evading tax (68%), paying board members significantly more than other staff (68%), and not paying employees a fair wage (69%) topped the list, narrowly ahead of damaging the environment (67%).

Despite pressure on household income, the way brands do business still can still affect purchasing decisions. 57% of say that if the price was the same, they would choose the brand that most closely aligned to their values while 44% said they pay more attention to brand values more than in the past.

Younger people surveyed are more idealistic about brand priorities, with the promotion of equality in society mentioned by 45% of under 34s, diversity in the workplace at 40%, and working to improve education 39%.

Older respondents are more concerned about environmental issues, 42% of over 55s against 37% of under 34s.

Mindshare UK head of research Julia Ayling says: “Our latest Reality Check report emphasises the complex challenges that brands are facing at the moment. It’s no surprise that financial issues are front-of mind for many people.

“But at the same time, the public are increasingly attuned to how brands conduct themselves and savvy to issues such as greenwashing and jumping on the bandwagon of popular causes. And we can see that where consumers do have a little more headspace from financial worries, for example, amongst older audience groups, issues such as sustainability are as important as ever.”

The full report is here.

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