How Do Brands Gain Our Trust?

April 10, 2009 by  Filed under: Branding 

Trust has never been as important to consumers as it is now. The results of the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands 2009 survey reveal a number of successful brands have topped the polls once again. Thomson Holidays, Lloyds TSB, Nurofen, Hotpoint, Persil and Colgate are celebrating after being crowned the most trusted brands in their category every year since the survey began in 2001.

Discount own-branded products have only accounted for 3% of almost all the categories in the Trusted Brands survey, indicating that although we may be cutting back in the economic downturn, our loyalty and trust remains with our favourite brands.

The major winners in the survey, such as Boots and Tesco retailers, have shown a consistency with quality and service delivery and established a trusting relationship with their consumers.

So what is it about a brand that makes us want to use them again and again? For me it comes down to how much I can rely on the brand to deliver what it is promising. Most of us have at least one brand that we can rely on implicitly – perhaps sometimes even more than our friends and family! My top ten most trusted brands are those I can rely on, having used for a long time and built up a lasting relationship with. They are:

1. Sony Ericsson

2. Apple

3. Boots

4. Asda

5. Cadbury

6. Nivea

7. Thomson Holiday

8. Coca Cola

9. Ford

10. Halifax

I trust these brands even though there have been occasions when a couple of them have let me down. Like the time I bought a new Sony Ericsson phone and it stopped working barely days after I’d unwrapped the packaging. Of course I was annoyed and questioned whether I could still trust the brand to deliver what I needed, but when I contacted Sony I was dealt with in a quickly yet friendly manner and given a replacement phone straight away. Because of the positive way Sony dealt with the problem, and taking into account nothing similar had happened in the several years since I had begun using the brand, I kept my trust in them and have enjoyed a continuous trusting relationship since.

When a crisis occurs within an organisation, it can easily damage the brand’s image, sacrificing the trust of its most loyal customers. A few years ago Cadbury faced a health scare that could well have destroyed its whole reputation but this year’s Trusted Brands survey proves the scare is well and truly behind it as it takes the title of the most trusted confectionary brand. It seems that longer-established brands such as Cadbury are in a better position to turn things around when something goes wrong because they have already built up a loyal consumer base.

Although we accept the ultimate aim of a brand is to make a profit, we still want to feel like our values as consumers are important. A brand that doesn’t appear to care about its consumers is not likely to gain any trust. I’ve experienced this with certain mobile phone networks and insurance providers and as a result I would not want to use them again because of the poor level of customer service I have received.

Ultimately trust in a brand has to be earned and deserved.

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