The big logos used to come with a stamp of approval, instead they now come with a lot of questions and raised eyebrows. According to Roy Morgan, Australians have never been more distrusting of corporate Australia. The past year, corporate distrust has hit its lowest point in the midst of economic downturn, the number of recent high profile data breaches and corporate scandals.
For a long time, brands used to prioritise revenue at all costs because that’s what shaped brand trust; a company that’s doing well financially used to equate to success. However, since the recent high-profile breaches, the perception of what a good business looks like has changed dramatically with many now questioning the ethics and morals of big corporates.
At the same time, in the B2B consulting space, we’re seeing organisations start to source for outcome over convenience. In order to protect their own reputations, they know they need to deliver best in class services. This throws up some challenges for the big consulting firms, who may no longer carry the quality seal of approval they once did, whilst also not being specialist enough to deliver the outcomes demanded.
The business of ethics
As large corporations continue to come under increasing scrutiny and distrust continues to mount, business ethics is quickly becoming a key determining factor of business success and growth. Organisations will start to look for proof of business ethics before making a call on whether it’d be a good partnership or not. If organisations want to maintain their reputation and pass the trust test, they have to take a different approach that centres ethics in their brand strategy.
As consumers are becoming more sceptical of big brands and questioning their business ethics, it presents an opportunity for smaller, more socially conscious businesses to attract a bigger slice of the pie.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of the digital economy, the emergence of homegrown tech companies with deeply ingrained values represents a beacon of trust and reliability. These organisations, rooted in local cultures and understanding of the market, are uniquely positioned to address the nuanced needs of their communities. They offer a personalised approach, often missing in large, international corporations. This closeness to the community ensures a deep alignment with local values and norms, fostering a sense of trust and partnership that is crucial. Furthermore, these smaller organisations, driven by strong ethical principles, are more likely to prioritise long-term safety, and financial stability over short-term gains.
Outcomes over convenience
Traditionally, organisations have sought partners that can offer convenience above all else. This typically meant organisations went to larger service providers who were seen as a one-stop-shop. However, the way we do business is changing. Organisations are now sourcing outcomes over convenience. Today, these outcomes have moved beyond profit to encompass social outcomes as well.
This shift has led to organisations considering more boutique providers who are thought of as specialists and might more closely align to their business values. However, moving to a best-in-class model takes time, it’s hard work and most organisations don’t have the bandwidth to test and manage hundreds of individual suppliers to deliver a premium outcome in every area.
As a result, the prediction is that prioritising outcomes will open up the door for partnership opportunities where larger firms bring in boutique consultants to deliver an outcome under their contracts. Rather than the big 4 swallowing up all government contracts, which we know is already in heavy decline, large consultancies will be forced to open up some of that revenue to the little guys if they’re going to convince people they can deliver quality outcomes in an ethical way.