Should brands stick to the knitting

Another new survey - this time from Hanbury Strategy and reported in the Times - draws the conclusion that UK business is increasingly out of touch with its customers. 56% of adults believed that businesses don’t reflect their priorities and only 9% believe businesses shared their values.

Only 31% would like CEO’s to focus on issues like diversity, climate or inclusion rather than concerns for their own staff or how to improve their services - results which suggest that whilst the issues are important they are not necessarily the province of business.  Add to that shareholder unrest with Unilever reported in the press today where a pre-occupation with burnishing sustainability credentials (at the expense off actually doing anything) is alleged to be damaging value creation.

Other studies have shown that public trust in advertising and marketing is at an all time low which seem to coincide with headlines from Campaign at the New Year “The year ahead for ad agencies - purpose, sustainability, diversity”. I repeat, all important issues but don’t most clients prioritise “sound advice”, “fact based insight”, “trusted impartiality” or how about “helping to sell stuff”?

As Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science said recently “The purpose of brands is to make money”. Perhaps if brands stick to knitting and do what they do best they might be able to fund politicians and professionals who should be the ones fixing the big issues.

A considerable proportion of our fees are earned as we persuade clients using facts and data and reasoned argument to not do things.

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