WHY BRAND TRUST MATTERS TODAY

In today’s world, trust is a currency that a brand cannot live without. Today, only 1 in 10 global consumers say their usage of a brand wouldn’t be damaged if they lost trust in it.

Even more so, the role trust plays in boosting a brand’s reputation, customer loyalty and the bottom line has never been more critical. Consumers are considerably more likely to seek out, pay more for, buy more of, recommend and even forgive a brand if they trust it.

The current moment, as vaccines proliferate and the world begins to reopen, provides brands with a truly unprecedented and never-to-be-seen again opportunity to identify the shifts of the past year that will endure for the long term and which will soon fade.

Amid the countless shifts witnessed in the past year, one is certain: what consumers consider to be valuable to them is changing. A thirst for trust will define the new era of consumer spending and brand relationships. That’s why we’ve expanded Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands research this year to be more comprehensive, more actionable and more global than ever before.

33%

On average, a third of global consumers – and roughly 4 in 10 Mexican, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian consumers – would switch to a competitor’s products or services if a company they trusted did something to break their trust.

TRUST, VALUE AND THE REPUTATION EQUATION

Our latest research shows the incredible impact trust has on global consumers. Missteps or oversights by a brand that lead to bad publicity, subpar experiences or questionable business practices can lead consumers quickly to a competitor.

If a brand or company you trust did something to break your trust, how would your loyalty to their products/services be affected, if at all?

Trust also propels brand growth and resilience. Nearly 90% of consumers surveyed across 15 global markets said they would buy more from a brand they trust, while 82% said they are more willing to forgive them if they make a mistake or something goes wrong.

Thinking of brands I trust:

THE WORLD'S MOST TRUSTED BRANDS IN 2021

Based on data from Morning Consult Brand Intelligence

What we can learn from the world’s most trusted brands

Reputation’s power to tangibly intensify action at every stage of the customer journey underscores the criticality of delivering value and establishing trust.

This is perhaps best demonstrated by Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands of 2021, each of which outperforms their peers on not only functional and experiential features, but also on emotional and social qualities that bolster trust including community impact and admirability as an employer. They also enjoy substantially higher levels of consideration, usage and a higher net promoter score.

The most trusted brands across international markets span a number of categories – technology behemoths, payments providers, retail companies, entertainment services and even CPG brands – suggesting that though the dynamics around what drives (and what breaks) trust will necessarily vary by category, it’s not impossible to forge strong emotional connections rooted in trust.

From Nike’s dual emphases on brand purpose and social activism as well as quality, performance and value for the cost, and PayPal’s dedication to small and minority businesses as well as innovation and reliability, to Disney’s donations, concern for its employees, and reputation for ethical and family-oriented values balanced with its dedication to accessible fun and great experiences, each of these brands delivers on different functional and emotional needs of their audiences to build a reputation of not only working well, but also being trustworthy.

We know reputation is important to any relationship, which on its own makes trust a critical asset to nurture and protect.

But Morning Consult’s daily tracking data also confirms that stronger reputations translate to significantly better engagement, higher usage and stickier retention – each of which contributes to business performance in the short term and feeds the flywheel of continued success for the long term.

Trust is key to delivering on the emotional and social aspects that drive brand reputation. Of course, it takes more than trust alone for consumers to have a strong relationship with a brand. Value is also key. Delivered through relevance, sufficiently meeting needs, quality and experience, value fulfills the functional side of the reputation equation.

The exact relationship between and relative importance of value and trust vary by consumer segment, category and, at times, use cases – but successfully delivering on the combination is a sure recipe for stronger, more loyal consumer relationships.

Despite the adoption of more functional and experiential features, the emotional and social components underpinning trust are increasingly consequential in not only a brand’s reputation, but in its lasting relationships with today’s consumer.

Up Next: The Current State of Consumer Trust

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