Jan 21, 2020

A whole new world of Brand Expectations

A brand’s inability to continuously create relevant and meaningful content means 81% of brands could disappear and European consumers would not care…

  • New year, new me. Consumers expectations have increased once again and as a result, brands that cannot keep up in an authentic and valuable way are becoming increasingly irrelevant.
  • “81% of brands sold across Europe could disappear and consumers would not care.” A shocking finding by Havas Group’s Meaningful Brand 2019 report, gathered from 1,800 brands and 350,000 respondents in 31 different countries.
  • This number has increased by three percentage points in two years which suggests that brands are still failing to engage, inspire and improve a consumer’s experience.

Of the British consumers included in the Havas report, “61% want brands to provide content that is interesting, entertaining or offers useful experiences or services that stand apart from the brand’s usual services and this increases to 78% amongst millennials.”

Why are brands at risk of fading into oblivion?

There are many reasons that could contribute to this, but first and foremost is abundance. With up to 30,000 new products being launched yearly and consumers exposed to between 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, they really are spoilt for choice which can result in them shutting brands out.

Secondly, unbrands or ‘no-name brands’. Thanks to retailers like Amazon, Aldi and Lidl, consumers’ eyes are opened to new and unnamed brands. The better these brands perform, the more the perceived value of traditional, well-known brands is undercut.

Lastly, and possibly most obvious, a lack of trust towards brands. Whether it’s tapping into social issues inauthentically, or providing consumers with empty promises, consumers are quick to judge and are sceptical about what brands promote.

While these issues are all important, a big, new contributing factor is expectation

“People’s expectations of brands have risen faster than brands’ ability to meet those expectations.”

If this gap in expectation is not addressed, it will only increase and make bridging that gap a more ominous task for brands. The first step in achieving this is to understand what people expect and desire from ‘new world’ brands.

What can brands do?

Active contribution

Consumers expect brands to provide them value by helping them to do or achieve more. Providing a product or service is no longer enough, they expect brands to go above and beyond.

Appropriate personalisation

Consumers do not view themselves as part of the masses and therefore, they do not want to be treated as though they are, especially if they are repeat and loyal customers. It can be detrimental for brands if they appear to not value their existing relationships - nurturing their current customer base is as essential if not more than gaining new customers.

Contextual relevance

An average experience is not sufficient. Consumers want brands to provide solutions that resolve their specific needs at the time, once again, brands are expected to go above and beyond.

Demonstrably native

Consumers are very competent with the customs of individual media and social channels. Therefore, if brands want to be accepted in these spaces, they must uphold the same level of competency and tailor their content to each environment.

Exceptional experiences

Consumers are the driving force behind a brand’s strategy and goal and as a result, they expect brands to deliver excellence however and whenever they choose to engage with their content. ‘The customer is always right’ has never been more applicable.


This is largely thanks to social media. Consumers are ‘always on’ and so, expect the same from brands. They want brands to feed their social and cultural interests at the same pace as they consume.


Authenticity and consistency are at the crux of what a consumer expects from brands, it’s been this way throughout 2019 and 2020 will only see it go from strength to strength.

While meeting these expectations sets an extremely high bar for brands, bridging the consumer-brand expectation gap is crucial for future growth. New technology will most likely be needed to achieve each of these goals but it will provide the opportunity to create solutions that can directly work towards reaching these expectations.