Biggest Dutch organizations do not live up to consumers’ expectations

Organizations in the health and tech sector are falling short of the mark with regard to innovation and the food sector does not take enough care of its employees, according to the Dutch consumer. Consumers think that credible communication is a point for attention in the case of 67% of the businesses examined, while Dutch people have extremely high expectations of organizations that go much further than just the product or service itself. This is shown by the results of the Authenticity Gap survey conducted by Omnicom PR Group. The survey measures the gap between expectations and the actual experiences of a consumer, using a framework of 9 drivers, which determine the consumer’s perception of an organization. The goal, Authentic Engagement, promotes progress and opportunities for growth.

The main findings:

  • Organizations and politicians are in a credibility crisis

Just 7.5% of the participating consumers thought that politicians were still credible and 13.7% thought that organization leaders were still credible. However, 61% of these consumers think that the CEO’s conduct has a direct impact on the integrity of the whole organization. Employers (43.6%) and informed family and friends (36.8%) are seen as a reliable source, though. In short, get your employees and fans to convey your message more often.

  • Positive impact on your surroundings and management conduct at least as important as the product

In the Netherlands, the products or services delivered by an organization are only 38% responsible for the consumer’s perception. The other 62% is determined by the impact an organization has on its surroundings and the management conduct. Take, for instance, care for employees and the environment, stable financial results and credible communication. In other countries, the impact of the product or service is much bigger on average, at 51%.

  • Caring for employees and environment, innovation and credible communication make the difference

The pillars innovation, caring for employees and environment and credible communication are at the top of the list of priorities for Dutch consumers. If you succeed as an organization in applying these aspects in your operational management, it will make a real contribution to your authenticity and thus to the success of your organization. Organizations in the sectors ‘Agribusiness & Agriculture’ and ‘Internet Services’ have the most trouble with credible communication. The sector ‘Food Retail’ scores low on the care of its employees and ‘Food & Beverage’ does not take enough care of the environment. And finally, the sectors ‘Internet Services’, ‘Medical Devices & Diagnostics’ and ‘Pharma’ do not innovate enough, according to the informed consumer.

  • Consumers have a more positive feeling about organizations than previously

The survey shows that in all the sectors examined, there is positive momentum. This means that consumers think organizations are going ‘in the right direction’. The sectors ‘Food & Beverage’ and ‘Food Retailers’ have the highest momentum, whereas the sectors ‘Pharma’ and ‘Agribusiness’ score lowest.

Marjolein Rigter, Business Director Reputation Management with Omnicom PR Group: “The survey shows that the down-to-earth Dutch consumer sees through marketing jargon and takes a holistic view of organizations. The consumer expects organizations not only to deliver a good product, but also to demonstrate honest management conduct and have a positive influence on its surroundings. Only then will you have lasting authenticity, credibility and success as an organization.”

This is the second time the Authenticity Gap has been conducted in the Netherlands. The first survey took place in 2014. It was devised and developed by FleishmanHillard, one of the three networks of Omnicom PR Group. The 2018 survey was conducted on 1,001 Dutch engaged consumers. It examined 72 organizations in nine sectors, in the Health, Tech and Food industries. In 2017, FleishmanHillard examined 290 organizations in 25 sectors in America, Canada, the UK, China and Germany. The survey measures the Authenticity Gap by comparing consumers’ experiences to their expectations. These are examined for each sector and each organization.

Find out more
For more information about the Authenticity Gap survey and the results, or to arrange a talk with one of our communication experts, please contact Marly van Bragt ([email protected]).