Three quarters of UK consumers ready to boycott brands with bad practices

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Older consumers are most likely to boycott brands with bad reputations (Source: Getty)

Three quarters (74 per cent) of UK consumers are willing to boycott brands they perceive as having bad practices, research released today has shown.

Trust in brands is especially important to older consumers, according to a survey conducted by EY. Those over 55 are most likely to ditch companies they think are dodgy, with 80 per cent saying they would stop buying their products compared to 64 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds.

Read more: Millennials reveal their top 100 favorite brands

Out of 2,500 consumers, 81 per cent agreed that the behaviour of a company is just as important as the product it sells. Scandals which hit brands' reputations were shown to have a considerable impact. Shoppers rated customer experience, the brand's purpose and treatment of staff as high on their priorities when choosing who to buy from.

Although social media storms like the one over Pepsi's Kendall Jenner protest ad can damage a brand's reputation, today's research also indicated that word of mouth is still the most influential form of marketing.

While 47 per cent of consumers were influenced by traditional media like TV advertising, 84 per cent said they trusted word of mouth recommendations. But online reviews are also growing in their influence on consumer sentiment, with 73 per cent turning to them for advice.

"Traditional processes such as word of mouth and peer reviews still appear to hold more weight than the likes of social media," commented Julie Carlyle, head of retail at EY.

“To protect margin, organisations need a clear understanding of the values that their customers find important. These go beyond short-term price promotions and hit on longer-term intangible assets such as an organisation’s culture.”

Read more: The surprising biggest worry for UK CEOs is reputational risk