Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

How brands can earn customer respect

Not only does a respected brand attract higher loyalty from customers, it also draws the best talent and its off erings enjoy a higher perceived value in the market

Published: Dec 6, 2019 02:30:34 PM IST
Updated: Dec 6, 2019 02:32:56 PM IST

How brands can earn customer respectIllustration: Chaitanya Dinesh Surpur

Sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, marketers and leaders have long held that trust is an essential part of any transaction and crucial in all social engagements: Courtship, sharing, learning, innovation, love, cooperation, coordination, conflict resolution and more.

One of the most important aspects for a brand to develop this trust-bond with its consumers is to command their respect through its actions, messages and behaviour. In this study, TRA has measured Brand Respect—a trait only a select few brands successfully achieve and retain, many gain to lose it later, while most others struggle to attain it all their lives.

JRD Tata, the doyen of Indian industry, once said: “Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without deep thought and hard work.” The same can be said about respect. Commanding respect is the trait of a brand leader, and since it is not always easy to define or decipher, it is also the most difficult to achieve. Many years of TRA’s studies with psychologists, sociologists and communication experts have helped define a brand’s ‘Respect Score’ by taking into consideration several crucial intangible aspects. These include, but are not limited to, the expertise of a brand in its domain, strength of values, strength of brand personality and its influence. Consumers have a natural tendency to respect brands that achieve significant stature in some or all of these attributes.

Respect, if transmitted to many, translates into reputation, and in the world of brands, reputation is everything. Not only does a respected brand attract higher loyalty from customers, it also draws the best talent and its offerings enjoy a higher perceived value in the market. Higher respect also inspires faith in the growth potential of a company attracting investor interest. Even transgressions of a well-respected brand are more easily forgiven by consumers, giving the brand a second chance based on the respect it has gained.

For a brand to be listed in the Forbes-TRA Most Respected Brands Report 2019 is a direct and thumping endorsement of the high esteem consumers have for the brand. Ideally, every brand should hold their consumers in high regard and give consumer opinions and choices the highest respect. Respect given, after all, is key to respect earned.

● The writer is CEO, TRA Research

(This story appears in the 20 December, 2019 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)