Posts by Ann Mack, Jordan Price and Mark Truss

AnxietyIndex: In wake of disaster, Japanese re-evaluate who to trust

As part of our ongoing AnxietyIndex surveys, JWT fielded a study on the levels and drivers of consumer anxiety in Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. As one might expect, nearly all respondents (91 percent) reported feeling anxious—the disaster only intensified already pervasive anxiety in Japan (in March 2009, 89 percent reported feeling anxious).

In response, people are re-evaluating who to trust, with high levels of approval for corporate responses to the disaster and traditional media. But only a third of respondents said they trust what the government is saying about radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant, while 40 percent trust what the government is saying about the disaster generally. Not surprisingly, then, only a third are confident in the government’s ability to successfully steer Japan through the crisis.

Corporations seem to be filling the trust void, with eight in 10 Japanese saying they trust what big corporations have been doing to help during the disaster, and two-thirds saying the same of local businesses in their town. Brands can help fill the leadership vacuum with innovative, decisive actions that make a real difference. For brands that step up to this challenge, the rewards to equity can be significant, given the nation’s sentiments.

When asked what would help signal a return to normalcy, seven in 10 Japanese say it will be when TV channels start to show regular ads again. And almost six in 10 agree that “Right now, ads make me feel like everything will be OK.”

The survey polled 502 adults aged 18-plus. This report is the first in a series on Japan that seeks to analyze post-disaster shifts in perception, values and behavior in order to formulate insights relevant to brands in these uncertain times. For more on the findings, download the full report here.