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Trust and transparency take center stage at the ARF’s Shopper x Science 2019 event in Chicago

2 minute read | July 2019

Earlier this month, Scott McKenzie, Global Intelligence Leader, Nielsen, was a featured speaker at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Shopper x Science 2019 event at Google’s headquarters in Chicago. The ARF focuses on furthering the scientific practice of advertising and marketing through research. And this event presented industry experts the opportunity to weigh in on the ever-changing retail consumer landscape and to offer insights and solutions on what companies and brands can do differently to stay competitive.

In his presentation entitled ‘How to Trust in the Trust-Enabled Economy,’ Scott stressed the importance of trust and transparency in a brand’s marketing initiatives. At a time where consumers are distrustful of messages, some forms of advertising and even the manufacturers of the products they use, it’s critical for companies today to promote a sense of credibility amongst their desired consumer segments. Now more than ever, shoppers are looking to purchase brands with a purpose. 

In fact, Scott presented Nielsen research that found 17% of global consumers are drawn to brands that promote social responsibility, and 16% of global consumers prioritize brands that trade with transparency. These findings indicate that consumers today prefer brands that define their role within the broader environment, in addition to fulfilling consumers’ individual needs.

Trust: If you break it, you might lose it forever,” said Scott. “If you get it right, it pays you back.”

During the session, Scott also explored the looming presence of brand disloyalty in consumers’ purchasing decisions, and its subsequent impact on companies around the world. Touching upon aspects such as price as a choice driver and the emphasis on homegrown products, Scott discussed multiple factors that influence consumer buying habits and offered insight as to how companies can make a change in the right direction according to Nielsen findings.

The biggest take-away that Scott emphasized is that as complexity continues to increase in the retail marketing space, trust will continue to play a part in brands’ experiences. “We have a responsibility, and our moment of trust is here.”

Several other speakers presented at the event about various topics pertaining to shopper marketing as well, including representatives from Google, PepsiCo, The Hershey Company and others.