When does big become too big? I've heard several conversations recently about the growing sense of consumer distrust for large organizations (including companies, brands and governments). Within the context of companies and brands, the conversation instinctively gravitates toward annual sales figures as the basis for the answer.
While those numbers may be part of the answer, my conversations with consumers suggest that it's not really that simple. Many consumers in the natural and organic market have shared that some large, mainstream companies and brands have managed to maintain their trust and loyalty, despite being big companies.
These exemplar brands appear to have remained "small in nature" despite their billion-dollar-plus sales volumes. One conversation suggested Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, Whole Foods and Chipotle as members of this club.
What is it about these brands that has allowed them to retain their relationships with consumers?
I’d argue it is a mix of
- Long term focus
- Willingness to sometimes make difficult decisions that aren’t always motivated by profit
To me, and I believe many consumers, "too big" is defined by the point where:
- One’s values begin losing their share of voice in decision making
- Consumers begin to sense that profit is more important than integrity
- Difficult decisions are made with less transparency
What else would you add to the list of items which define “too big?”
What large brands have retained your trust? Why?