The Authenticity Gap: FleishmanHillard release global authenticity research

At its heart, authenticity is the fundamental alignment of who you claim to be and who you really are.

If the two are at odds, no matter who you are, people will be let down or dissatisfied, and you won’t meet expectations.

At FleishmanHillard, we call this the ‘Authenticity Gap’ and we’ve been measuring it since 2012, using the Nine Drivers of Authenticity that shape consumer perceptions and beliefs.

Our rich research data allows companies to judge how authentic they are, where they fall short and how they compare to their sector peers.

In 2021, the global pandemic has disrupted and challenged every facet of our lives, and triggered a fundamental shift in how companies communicate, how a brand campaigns and the issues it is expected to take a stand on, with consumers placing more importance on ‘society outcomes’ than ever before.

Our authenticity research reveals that in the UK, in a year when Scotland hosts COP26, ‘care of environment’ is nearly as important to setting company expectations as ‘customer care’ and ‘better value’.

Despite the economic uncertainties of the pandemic, consistent and stable financial performance ranks among the lowest drivers across all sectors, with the exception (unsurprisingly) of banking and investing.

Our authenticity research surveyed 10,000 informed consumers in five markets (The US, Brazil, the UK, China and Germany), polling their experiences and expectations of 200+ companies across 20 sectors.

The FleishmanHillard 2021 Global Authenticity Gap Report provides unique insights into the emerging opportunities and threats facing some of the world’s most familiar companies and brands – and, crucially, what consumers expect business leaders to do about them. Download the full report here.

Some highlights from the research:

  • The US is the only market where ‘customer benefits’ make up more than half of consumer expectations.
  • The Enterprise IT sector is a standout performer on ‘better value’ and ‘customer care’ in Brazil.
  • ‘Care of environment’ ranks nearly as important as ‘customer care’ and ‘better value’ for UK consumers.
  • Business leaders doing right is more important to Chinese consumers than other markets.
  • ‘Better value’ and ‘caring for the environment’ rank as equally important for German consumers.

If you’re interested in exploring the data further, looking at your company, sector or market in full, contact [email protected].

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