NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly nine in 10 consumers (87 percent) say concerns about innovations' impact on privacy, the environment and their security will stop them from purchasing new products, according to Edelman's new global consumer study, Innovation and the Earned Brand study.
Consumers continue to embrace and believe in the promise of innovation, but the majority of respondents believe it comes at a personal and societal cost. Globally, privacy is the biggest concern (66 percent) and strongest in Germany (76 percent), the U.S. (75 percent) and Australia (74 percent). The environmental impact is the next biggest concern (58 percent), especially in Germany (66 percent) and Brazil (62 percent). Security (54 percent), in particular in Japan (75 percent) and the U.S. (71 percent), is also a major worry for consumers.
The study revealed that a vast majority (92 percent) of consumers view innovation as an essential component of society's progress and more than three-quarters of respondents (79 percent) believe it's the responsibility of business, and not academics/universities (36 percent) or individuals (30 percent), to drive innovation. Nine in 10 agree that brand innovation needs to impact society with 69 percent agreeing that it should improve society. However, two-thirds (66 percent) state that business-led innovation is motivated primarily by the desire to make more money. Additionally, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer released last January found more than half (51 percent) believe innovation is happening too quickly.
"Marketers are missing out on a simple truth: acceptance of innovation cannot be bought, it must be earned," said Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman. "As marketers, we need to evolve our playbook if we want to succeed. We have to address consumers' fears before we have the permission to sell. Marketing, at the moment, is making it worse."
Not surprisingly, consumers today believe the technology and mobile sectors are outpacing all others on the innovation front. Yet, the study reveals that consumers want other sectors, including healthcare, education and energy to be the innovators of tomorrow. Globally, healthcare (50 percent) is the sector consumers most want to see more innovation from, followed by energy (44 percent); food and beverage (19 percent) and education (37 percent). China is the one market that wants to see energy leading on innovation over all other sectors.
Two-in-three respondents claim to be bored/frustrated by constantly being told to upgrade their products and 60 percent say manipulations in advertisements leave them unsure of what to believe. Consumers are twice as likely to want to be reassured (66 percent) than inspired by a brand (33 percent). Yet, two out of three respondents believe brands are not moving in the right direction in the ways they listen and communicate with them.
With a lack of reassurance coming from brands, consumers are turning to their peers for reassurance about their concerns over innovation. Most consumers (75 percent) say peer conversations inform their purchase decisions, help them overcome concerns (37 percent), help them make decisions (44 percent) and warn them of risks (45 percent).
"The peer's experience with a product's innovation has become the evidence consumers are now relying on when making purchase decisions," said Edelman. "We are using an old model of persuasion by talking at people, telling them they need to constantly upgrade in order to keep up with their peers. We have mistakenly assumed that consumers will continue to be moved primarily by inspiration."
Consumers are now expecting brands to provide the platforms to enable these peer-to-peer conversations. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said they trust a brand more if it's easy to review products and services and 64 percent are more trusting of brands that encourage peer-to-peer conversations about their products.
"Brands have to power peer conversations with platforms and meaningful context and understand that the right to innovate is earned," said Michelle Hutton, global practice chair, Consumer Marketing. "The new model of marketing is not messaging, it's behavior. There are four actions brands must take to earn the right to innovate. They must: inform transparently so they can educate their audience to enable them to make personal choices; operate with purpose and show how they fit into bigger picture and are active participants in society; live with character that is true to themselves and have a personality that their audience can buy in to; and make their mark by doing something unique or differentiating that is worthy of attention."
Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world's largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman was named one of Advertising Age's "Agency to Watch" in 2014; one of Forbes' "14 Most Influential Agencies of 2014"; and The Holmes Report's "2013 Global Agency of the Year." Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014 and was among Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" for the third time in 2014. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency. Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.