Consumers to Brands: 'You Disappoint Me'

Brands get low marks for living up to their promises

Do brands live up to their promises to consumers? Much of the time, the answer is no, and a recent study suggests that the ramifications of that can be very bad news for brands that fall short of expectations.  

In a May 2018 survey from brand experience agency Jack Morton, 2,000 US internet users were asked about their experiences with 100 brands and if their interactions align with the images depicted by the brands' marketing, like having helpful store associates or efficient digital sales channels.

The survey found that more than two-fifths of respondents (45%) said brands today rarely live up to the promises they’ve made—essentially giving them a D grade for poor performance. This dissatisfaction was slightly higher among millennials (49%) compared with Gen Xers (44%) and boomers (42%).

What does this mean for the brands? ... possibly less revenue going forward. Fully, 48% of respondents said when a brand doesn’t keep its promise, they no longer trust it and will stop buying its products.

Interestingly, while younger people are more likely to say that brands don't live up to expectations, they are more forgiving of those disappointments. Older consumers seem to have harsher reactions. Boomers were considerably more likely than millennials to say that they would stop buying if a brand disappointed them.

Other studies have found similarly strong reactions to disappointing customer experience. A study by InMoment found that negative brand experiences lead to feelings of anger and frustration—and brand abandonment. Nearly one-quarter of the respondents in InMoment's survey said they stop using a brand after a negative experience.