14 Evidence is reassuring

To stand out and secure the confidence of consumers, brands should avoid boasting or making promises they might not keep. Instead they must communicate rationally and offer proof to back their claims.

Indeed, 78% of Europeans place the quality of a brand’s products and services in their top three decision-making criteria. In fact, this is the item that comes top in every country covered by the survey. This quality must be reflected in the brand’s identity, which helps to forge its personality.



55% of those surveyed expect a brand’s image and reputation to be beyond reproach, with the Slovaks and Brits being the most uncompromising in this sense. Similarly, a brand’s ethics and social responsibility are one of the top three criteria for 33% of Europeans, and an even higher proportion of French consumers (44%). And in order to have confidence in a brand, they apparently need to have tried it out, since they place great importance on product experience (52%).

This is far removed from the intangible brand appeal often put forward to explain the predominance of certain brands. Once again, confidence is a matter of credibility. Substance takes precedence over form. It takes more than visual appeal (11%) and advertising (just 5%) to turn the heads of European consumers and transform desire into blind trust. On the contrary, a much higher proportion are reassured by a quality label or certification. Or at least that is the claim made by 38% of Europeans, with the Bulgarians, Portuguese and Romanians most likely to express this opinion.