NEWS23 November 2022

Low pay ‘most damaging’ issue for brand reputation, finds report

Cost of Living Inclusion News People Sustainability Trends UK Youth

UK – Tax evasion, significant wage inequality and the failure to pay a living wage are more damaging to a company’s reputation with the public than damaging the environment, according to research from media agency Mindshare UK.


In its Reality Check report, Mindshare, part of advertising giant WPP, said the most popular answer for what a “good brand” should do was paying a fair wage to employees ( 43%).

Evading tax ( 68%), paying board members significantly more than other staff ( 68%), and not paying employees a fair wage ( 69%) were the top three characteristics of a “bad brand”, narrowly ahead of damaging the environment ( 67%).

The results come from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 people carried out in September 2022, supplemented with mobile ethnography and social insights analysis.

Purchasing decision could also be affected, the report said, with 57% of respondents saying they would choose a brand most closely aligned with their personal values if the price of the product was the same.

The research also found that 44% pay more attention to brand values than they did in the past.

Mindshare said that promotion of equality in society was mentioned by 45% of people under 34-years-old, diversity in the workplace by 40% and improving education by 39%.

Older respondents aged over 55 were more in favour of environmental protection, with 42% saying this was a big priority compared with 37% of the under-34s, and were more likely to be critical of bad behaviour by brands compared with their younger counterparts.

The report also identified a shift in attitude among the public from individualistic to collectivist values compared with Mindshare research carried out in 2019.

Julia Ayling, head of research and insights at Mindshare UK, said: “The public are increasingly attuned to how brands conduct themselves and savvy to issues such as greenwashing and jumping on the bandwagon of popular causes.

“We can see that where consumers do have a little more headspace from financial worries, for example, among older audience groups, issues such as sustainability are as important as ever.”