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Kearney Consumer Institute Q2 2023 Briefing Analyzes Transparency Strategy Mistakes and Wins Across Global Brands and Retailers
[May 16, 2023]

Kearney Consumer Institute Q2 2023 Briefing Analyzes Transparency Strategy Mistakes and Wins Across Global Brands and Retailers

  • Report finds disconnect between brand transparency and how consumers want to receive information
  • Consumers see transparency across four functions: functional, values based, informational, operational
  • 77% of consumers say brand transparency makes them feel informed
  • 58% want to see raw materials or ingredients on the product or visible in the store; only 17% want this level of transparency about employee treatment and labor
  • 72% of consumers prefer that extra fees be folded into the product price vs. added to the final bill

CHICAGO, May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Today global management consulting firm Kearney's consumer think tank, the Kearney Consumer Institute (KCI), releases its Q2 2023 briefing on corporate transparency, Blank space: the transparency disconnect. The report looks into the complicated relationship consumers have with brand transparency, as well as how retailers and brands should be parsing the difficult questions around transparency and responding appropriately.

"Putting information out there or advertising transparency sets the expectation that consumers can ask about anything," said the report's author Katie Thomas, who leads the Kearney Consumer Institute. "Artificial transparency risks frustrating or confusing consumers, leading to loss of customer loyaty even for established brands."

"There is a disconnect between broad transparency and the information consumers actually want, and how they want to receive it," added Thomas. "There are multiple approaches to communicating brand messages and information, and understanding these nuances, as well as the risks and benefits of each approach, can benefit both consumers and brands."

The KCI has been exploring how consumers react to functional, values-based, informational, and operational modes of transparency.

The briefing shares consumer sentiment data and addresses themes such as:

  • How brand transparency makes consumers feel (informed, confident, empowered, indifferent through to overwhelmed, annoyed, confused)
  • Where consumers want to find brand information, i.e., it being available on product labeling or visible in the store or simply that they can find it if they want
  • The dilemma of many consumers choosing blissful ignorance concerning fast fashion supply chains and animal welfare
  • Consumers' frustration over confusing messaging and hidden fees

The study reports on feedback from consumers, making the case that there are few clear-cut answers in their reaction to various types of brand transparency. "Brands and retailers need to be cautious about the messages they want to put out," noted Thomas. "Weighing what makes consumers feel good about their choices against what is realistic to execute on the brand side is the first step in getting transparency right."

Consumer responses to transparency are often far more complex and nuanced than brands and retailers realize. The KCI advises a process of acknowledging the intent of a transparent message, and planning accordingly, whether that's to inform or educate, for marketing or for coverage. From there, the report enumerates things to watch out for in each category, as well as key questions and considerations.

"Brands and retailers need to have a long-term strategy in place, shifting from selective transparency to thoughtful transparency," said Tanya Moryoussef, a manager in Kearney's consumer practice. "If a brand admits to making a mistake and shares a plan of how they will do better, are they ready to share updates to or tracking of the plan?"

A copy of the Q2 2023 KCI Briefing Blank space: the transparency disconnect is available here.

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm. For nearly 100 years, we have been the trusted advisor to C-suites, government bodies, and nonprofit organizations. Our people make us who we are. Driven to be the difference between a big idea and making it happen, we help our clients break through.

About the Kearney Consumer Institute

The Kearney Consumer Institute (KCI) evaluates today's business challenges and opportunities through the eyes and experiences of consumers, advocating a consumer-first perspective. By leveraging consumer behavior data and insights, we generate conversation, and ultimately action, around how to address consumer needs with meaningful benefits. Through extensive consumer market research, we can help you identify the right opportunities by surfacing key consumer market insights and trends.

Using a consumer-first lens the KCI looks at today's consumer revolution not by thinking about consumers, but by thinking like consumers. Our consumer-centric approach includes simple, precise, plain-language conversations on topics like trends, consumer communities, convenience, loyalty, service, fair pricing, and product development and technologies.

U.S. Media contact:

Meir Kahtan, MKPR, [email protected], +1 917-864-0800

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SOURCE Kearney

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