It can’t be refuted that the most successful, well-known – and loved – brands are usually those that, in addition to providing quality products and services, also establish a personal and close connection with their consumers. This connection helps the brand reputation as much as it helps the brand-consumer relationship. Building this relationship, of course, requires active and well-thought-out brand initiatives aimed at making consumers feel valued and at ease. Today’s progressive consumer has more evolved preferences about the brands they invest their money in – and food brands are high on this list of informed priorities. In the conversation around food, consumers today have more of a voice than their yesteryear counterparts – and this voice is all the more amplified by the ubiquitous internet, particularly social media. Social media makes it extremely easy, not to mention convenient, for consumers to call individual brands to task if they suspect their practices are dishonest. This has been well demonstrated by the many instances of consumers exposing food brands on social media for their unsafe ingredients, controversial company processes and more. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that food activism is steadily on the rise.
Social media gives anyone and everyone a voice, and the debate around whether or not food brands should respond to consumer attacks is increasingly veering toward the affirmative. Food brands in particular will always be at the receiving end of questions from consumers and activists alike, as people increasingly feel responsible for the societal, environmental and health impacts of the food they consume. This is where brand transparency becomes more important than ever before – by making as much information as possible freely available to consumers, brands make it easier for consumers to trust their products. The trust thus established can go a long way in turning everyday consumers into long-term brand advocates.