For the past 14 years, Reader’s Digest has conducted its Trusted Brands survey to investigate, which brands in Australia and around the world have the best reputation among consumers. Year after year, the results show the most successful and valuable brands are the ones most highly trusted by the public.
In the Australian arm, the survey asks a representative sample of 2412 people what their most trusted brands are, within 46 categories of products and services across a broad range of industries.
The winners of 2015 include mega-brands such as Dettol, Dulux, Colgate, Band-Aid, Dyson, Sony and Lipton.
The Modern Consumer
Trust becomes important when considering the new breed of empowered consumers. These aren’t only one-dimensional in store customers, but are interconnected in a myriad of ways through new digital media and technology, which helps keep them linked to their favourite brands each and every day.
“Brand Strength – is a qualitative measure of brand reputation – consumer perception (result of: experience, attitude, feelings), is ‘awarded’.” – How To Value and Price Ideas and Services, Kathryn Williams.
Social media, forums and other modern media have made it easier for consumers to take control of a brand’s reputation. And as a result, it’s never been more crucial to be trusted by your customers, as they can quickly endorse or condemn your products and services with a click of a button to an audience of millions.
The Power of Trust
Boston based advertising legend, Jim Mullen, once famously stated that of all the things a company owns, its brand is by far the most important and the toughest.
“Founders die. Factories burn down. Machinery wears out. Inventories get depleted. Technology becomes obsolete. Brand loyalty is the only sound foundation on which business leaders can build enduring, profitable growth.” – Jim Mullen.
That’s why trusted brands are consistently the strongest. In Europe, Nivea remains the most Trusted Brand of skin care in every country surveyed and has done so since 2012; Visa is number one in all 7 countries surveyed; and there is no wavering in trust, year on year, for Kellogg’s and Nestle.
So, what makes a brand trustworthy?
According to Reader’s Digest, consumers across Europe are more likely to trust brand recommendations from their family and friends than any other source, with 73% agreeing that personal recommendations are important when making a purchase.
In a similar survey conducted by Entrepreneur magazine and Californian based think-tank The Values Institute, researchers found that, “today’s most trustworthy brands have created relationships with consumers through experiences that trigger a visceral response,” –Entrepreneur
While in Australia, consumers resolve the following as less personal, but equally important, drivers of trust:
- Premium quality at an affordable price
- Everlasting, reliable and cost–effective
- Top quality and innovative
- Well-known brand
- Has a positive reputation
- Business longevity
- Strong emotional connections with their customer base – in addition to quality, reliability and credibility – are what determine great brands.
Consider, for example, the messages spread by top scoring brands Dulux (Let’s colour), Panadol (Caring takes strength) and Twinings (Gets you back to you). Assistance while renovating, support while in pain and comfort while sick, respectively, are all illustrations of personal appeals presented to consumers in a bid to build everlasting trust.
A trusted brand is a valuable brand, so, whether we’re developing our own brand image or that of a client, focusing on creating good relationships with consumers is beyond essential.