What Your Customers Really Want

I like it when a survey actually reveals to the apparently unsuspecting world, something that most of us would say that we’ve known all along.

The latest example of this is a piece of research by a brand consultancy, the Pull Agency, and its findings clearly call the advertising industry to account.

As Lionel Shriver points out in a recent Spectator article:

‘Promotion that strains to impress consumers with a company’s progressive imprimatur is off-putting. You always suspected it, but now it’s official: woke advertising backfires.’

Having established that conclusion with various other questions in the survey, for the question as to what companies should do to be socially responsible, 58% of respondents replied: ‘Pay their taxes, treat people fairly, respect the environment and not use it as a PR opportunity.’ 

In other words, and I can put it no better than Lionel Shriver does, companies should, ‘rather than lecture us to behave well, behave well yourself; peddle your product, not your unconvincing high-mindedness.’

This research may or may not change the approach by companies and their advertising and PR agencies. Interestingly it echoes the current feeling against the previously ultra-fashionable status of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investing because the current economic, social and political conditions call for more realistic investment criteria.

It is now clear that how companies sell their products and how they attract investment are both areas that need reappraisal, because woke-washing in advertising is now shown to be as ineffective as green-washing has become for companies that seek to pitch to the markets as being worthy recipients of investment. 

As Martin Vander Weyer puts it – in another Spectator article – ‘There are immutable principles of good business behaviour, there are desirable long-term environmental goals to be balanced against shorter-term exigencies, and there are passing fads. Current global tensions are teaching us the difference.’

Neil Thomas, June 2022 

Published on Jun 30, 2022 by Neil Thomas