Consumers say security affects brand trust

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Experts from the security and marketing world released survey results on Monday that confirmed many suspicions that security can have consequences for corporate brands.

The recent "Secure the Trust of Your Brand" survey asked 2,200 consumers how corporate security practices affect their purchase patterns. Conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum, and underwritten by Symantec and Factiva, the survey found consumers are increasingly keeping tabs on corporate security news.

Approximately 90 percent of respondents said that security is a concern to them, and 50 percent said that they have recently become more concerned about security than before. Most startling is that more than one-third of respondents said they would strongly consider taking their business elsewhere if their personal information was compromised. The survey also found that 40 percent of consumers surveyed had stopped an online transaction midway due to security concerns.

Security experts have been using brand protection as a key selling point for security initiatives for years, but until now there has been very little quantitative research on how information security affects brand images.

"We did 25 qualitative interviews with marketers and other executives and one of the things I noticed was that with a good percentage of those, they were questioning, (saying) ‘Well, gee, do these security breaches mean anything —are they really affecting brand trust? Until I see something concrete, I don't think we're going to be doing much in that area,'" said Scott Van Camp, editorial director for CMO Council. "Maybe this might get companies going."

Van Camp added that these most recent findings are part of a larger industry research project that will better link brand trust with security. He said that comprehensive results will be released in mid-September.

"What we want to do is try to better understand the degree to which information security, business continuity and infrastructure integrity is shaping brand trust and value," he said.

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