French people still tend to prefer French brands
One of the effects of the economic turmoil of the last five years is that many people are returning to brand loyalty. In this time of globalisation, it is a positive and somewhat unexpected outcome, proving that humans are really, well… human after all.
According to a recent poll in France, the trends amongst the French in terms of their brand loyalty show a clear pattern that reflects what we’ve been seeing anecdotally in Ireland.
After the ubiquitous American browser comes food company Danone (up one place since the last poll in 2011), followed by Michelin, L’Oréal and EDF (Électricité de France). The common point between the first three most popular brands in the poll is that they are brands to which French people are exposed in their everyday lives.
“In this context of economic crisis, two criteria make the difference: The utility (the preoccupation by the company with being present in the minds of the consumer) and the constance of presence (index of coherence and stability in a difficult period).” So says François Miquet-Marty, associate director with consultants Viavoice.
Michelin inspires confidence
The titles are divided into thematic classifications. Thus, Michelin is the preferred brand in terms of quality of facilities and of the overall confidence that it inspires. On the environmental responsibility side of things, the brand that comes away with the trophy is another French one: cosmetics company Yves Rocher.
There is a note of caution for French firms in this, however: The survey has revealed a lowering across the board in the reputation stakes compared to the results of 2011. Consumers are becoming more and more critical, commercially aware and cynical in their attitude towards brands. The overall climate of doubt is maintained by the succession of social conflicts, and food and public scandals.
Those surveyed put more importance on factors such as a restructuring plan or poor employee-management relations ahead of other factors that can have a lasting effect on the image of a company. Consequently, automotive companies are heavily punished in the classification system that has just come out. Even though the car manufacturing industry in France is traditionally a very strongly supported one by French citizens, Renault is down to 22nd position in this poll while Peugeot is in 23rd and Citroën is in 24th in a survey involving 34 companies with a presence in France.