Human connection gets you a seat at the family table. But it might be temporary. Advocacy comes when you're a regular fixture, and that's incredibly precious.

— Peter Cross, Consumer Expert and Retail Consultant

Said consistent positive experiences with a brand were a more important factor for repeat purchasing than affordability and reputation.

Brands are under serious pressure right now. Trust between consumers and brands has eroded significantly in recent years, and relationships have broken down. And the ongoing worldwide economic difficulties and the ever-changing landscape mean this is a moment when brands really need their people.

Building authentic and strong emotional connections is how brands can stay strong, but the value of creating relationships is being forgotten in brand-building.

This report delves into where brand builders have been going wrong and how to fix things. It’s time to ask difficult questions.

Where have we lost our way?

We have all the technology in the world, but are we using it to make better experiences? We have more data than we know what to do with, but are we getting the right kind of insight from it? How well do they know the people they want to build those relationships with? Do brands really know who they want to be to their people?

The dynamics of the human-brand relationship have changed dramatically over the past few decades. We’ve gone from the one-way notion of ‘brand love’ towards mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships. A brand's value is no longer about how it is loved — the aim now is ‘brand help’.

Consumers now are more informed and have a wider range of choice than ever before. Brand leaders have to work harder for those connections, but once earned, their value is huge.

So how do brands meet that expectation and make sure that their people remain their people?


Said a brand's ability to understand their needs and reflect that in the experience was important in their purchasing decisions.

In our report, we explore:

  • How customer satisfaction levels have fallen to an all-time low
  • The way the human-brand relationship has shifted
  • How our obsession with data may be getting in the way of really understanding the human beings behind the numbers
  • That our use of tech may be damaging, not optimising our relationships with customers
  • The way a brand’s dedication to nurturing meaningful relationships is what will help them weather the storm
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Placing the human needs of customers at the heart of decision-making within an organisation enhances alignment and the ability to anticipate future behaviours

— Katie Brinsmead-Stockham, Brand Strategist and WePioneer Specialist