How can brands beat the rising tide of consumer cynicism?

By Jo Allen | Published: 21-Jul-2022

Beauty brands say they are making the world a better place, but consumers don’t believe it. What can they do to tackle this disconnect?

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This article was originally published in the July issue of Cosmetics Business Trend Report

Consumer cynicism is at an all-time high, and the way that brands are marketing their efforts around social and environmental purpose is failing to hit the mark.

How can brands beat the rising tide of consumer cynicism?

Figures from Havas Group’s 2021 Meaningful Brands report found that while 73% of surveyed consumers say brands must act now for the good of society and the planet, 71% don’t believe brands will deliver on their promises, causing accusations of what the report calls “CSR washing” – a failure of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that could further endanger brands if the expectation gap is not bridged.

Further data from The Pull Agency’s Is Your Brand Too Woke? report found that more than half (58%) of consumers believe that ‘woke-washing’ or ‘greenwashing’ – for example brands faking their sustainability credentials or their interest in social issues like Black Lives Matter – is happening in the health and beauty sector – with all generations viewing brands’ social engagement with strong scepticism.

And 69% of consumers are confused or don’t believe claims made by health and beauty brands about sustainability.

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