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Trust and Brands - UK - February 2016

“It is the brands that consumers are most familiar with and that have consistently proved their functional credentials that develop the strongest amount of trust; something which particularly pays off for brands in the household and personal care categories. Not only can developing trust act as an advantage in the present, but it can also help to provide some protection from external forces in the future.”

– Richard Hopping, Brand and Social Media Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Long-standing brands around the home are most trusted
  • Finance brands, particularly loan brands, least likely to build trust
  • Experience of a brand helps to build familiarity and trust
  • Ethics matter – but only to a point
  • Perceived quality translates into greater levels of trust
  • A contrast between high-use categories...
  • ...and sectors where people have fewer direct interactions
  • Aldi and Lidl shaping new behaviours and attitudes in the grocery category

Mintel’s research shows that the most trusted brands are not necessarily those that get pulses racing; instead they are the brands that consumers have become familiar with over time, and the ones they feel that they can rely on, particularly in the household and personal care sectors. The likes of Johnson’s, Fairy and Pyrex might not be seen as particularly glamorous, but they are time-tested brands that help people care for their home or family.

Finance brands get the toughest ride from consumers, evidence of the challenges facing companies operating in that sector, and of the impact that repeated scandals and crises have had on consumer perceptions of the industry as a whole.

Trust cannot be viewed in isolation. It is closely correlated to usage, and it is those day-to-day brands that really engender high levels of trust, although a few prestige brands are able to stand out from the crowd despite relatively low levels of use. Levels of trust also tend to correlate with people’s opinions on other key brand attributes, such as customer service, reputation, quality and perceived value. Few brands are able to sidestep these broad links. Trust is not built in isolation: people need to feel they can rely on a brand to deliver on every front before they truly trust it.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Report scope
      • Executive Summary

          • Long-standing brands around the home are most trusted
            • Figure 1: Top ranking of brands by agreement with the statement “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
          • Finance brands, particularly loan brands, least likely to build trust
            • Figure 2: Brands with the lowest scores for “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
          • Experience of a brand helps to build familiarity and trust
            • Figure 3: Brand awareness to usage ratio, by proportion of agreement with trust, 2014-15
          • Ethics matter – but only to a point
            • Figure 4: Proportion of consumers who associate a brand with the word “ethical”, by the proportion who trust that brand, 2014-15
          • Perceived quality translates into greater levels of trust
            • Figure 5: Perceived high quality, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
          • A contrast between high-use categories…
            • …and sectors where people have fewer direct interactions
              • Aldi and Lidl shaping new behaviours and attitudes in the grocery category
                • Figure 6: Trust over time of The Big Four supermarkets and Aldi and Lidl, 2012–15
              • What we think
              • Brand Trust Overview – What You Need to Know

                • Functional brands occupy the top spots
                  • Amazon a standout
                    • Familiarity breeds trust
                      • Consistency is needed to develop trust
                        • Finance brands suffer from negative industry associations
                        • Most Trusted Brands

                          • Familiar brands around the home are the most trusted
                            • Figure 7: Top ranking of brands by agreement with the statement “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                          • Familiarity breeds trust
                            • Figure 8: Usage of top trusted brands, 2014-15
                          • Customer experience helps to build trust…
                            • Figure 9: Satisfaction and recommendation of top trusted brands, 2014-15
                          • …but is not the be-all and end-all
                            • On rare occasions, brands can build high trust without excelling in other areas
                              • Figure 10: Other perceptions of top trusted brands, 2014-15
                          • Brands that Lack High Trust Levels

                            • Finance brands, particularly loan brands, least likely to build trust
                              • Figure 11: Brands with the lowest scores for “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                            • Newspapers break the link between trust and usage
                              • Figure 12: Use of brands with low scores for “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                            • Least trusted brands generally struggle elsewhere
                              • Figure 13: Other perceptions of brands with low scores for “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                            • Least trusted brands generally have lower satisfaction
                              • Figure 14: Satisfaction and recommendation of brands with low scores for “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                          • Sector Review – What You Need to Know

                            • Enhancing the customer experience in retail
                              • Luxury brands can build trust on reputation alone
                                • Function helps household and personal care brands
                                  • Appealing to core human emotions in travel
                                    • Expertise in other categories boosts trust in finance categories
                                      • Trusted food and drink brands prove their quality over time
                                      • Automotive

                                        • Ford and Mercedes-Benz top the most trusted car brands
                                          • Figure 15: Top trusted brands in the automotive sector, 2014-15
                                        • Consumers need to feel confident in their choice of automotive brand
                                          • Figure 16: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the automotive sector, 2014-15
                                      • Beauty and Personal Care

                                        • NIVEA secures three brands in the top ten BPC brands
                                          • Figure 17: Top ten trusted brands in the beauty and personal care sector, 2014-15
                                        • BPC brands that can combine functionality with satisfying the consumer ego likely to perform strongly
                                          • Figure 18: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the beauty and personal care sector, 2014-15
                                      • Drink

                                        • Range of different drink types in top trusted brands
                                          • Figure 19: Top ten trusted brands in the drink category, 2014-15
                                        • Consumers enjoy feeling pride in their choice of drink brand
                                          • Figure 20: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the drink sector, 2014-15
                                      • Energy

                                        • British Gas history provides an advantage
                                          • Figure 21: Top trusted brands in the energy provider category, 2014-15
                                        • Customer service can be a differentiator for energy suppliers
                                          • Figure 22: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the energy sector, 2014-15
                                      • Fashion

                                        • Luxury fashion brands can create trust without active experience
                                          • Figure 23: Top trusted brands in the fashion sector, 2014-15
                                        • There is an expectation that fashion brands can boost confidence
                                          • Figure 24: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the fashion sector, 2014-15
                                      • Finance

                                        • The most-trusted financial services brands are drawing on attributes from other markets
                                          • Figure 25: Top trusted brands in the financial services sector, 2014-15
                                        • Finance brands can protect themselves by concentrating on customer care
                                          • Figure 26: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the financial services sector, 2014-15
                                      • Food

                                        • Food: another sector where heritage translates to trust
                                          • Figure 27: Top trusted brands in the food sector, 2014-15
                                        • Proving quality over time appears to be a key factor in trust generation for food
                                          • Figure 28: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the food sector, 2014-15
                                      • Foodservice

                                        • Trusted foodservice brands have high exposure
                                          • Figure 29: Top trusted brands in the foodservice sector, 2014-15
                                        • Consistency in foodservice is key
                                          • Figure 30: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the foodservice sector, 2014-15
                                      • Household Care

                                        • Household care’s functional side actively builds trust
                                          • Figure 31: Top trusted brands in the household care market, 2014-15
                                        • Confidence and quality important factors for household care
                                          • Figure 32: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the household sector, 2014-15
                                      • Media

                                        • Trust does not necessarily lead to readership
                                          • Figure 33: Top trusted brands in the media category, 2014-15
                                        • Media brands need to be aware of what their readers want to see
                                          • Figure 34: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the media sector, 2014-15
                                      • Retail

                                        • Amazon is most trusted retailer
                                          • Figure 35: Top trusted brands in the retail category, 2014-15
                                        • Online retailers changing the meaning of customer service
                                          • Figure 36: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the retail category, 2014-15
                                      • Technology and Service Providers

                                        • Big name tech brands top the list
                                          • Figure 37: Top trusted brands in the technology product and service provider category, 2014-15
                                        • Signs that technology has not yet become second nature
                                          • Figure 38: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the tech product and service sector, 2014-15
                                      • Travel

                                        • A mix of premium and budget travel brands
                                          • Figure 39: Top trusted brands in the travel sector, 2014-15
                                        • Safety influences trust in travel brands
                                          • Figure 40: Top five factors with the highest correlation with trust in the travel sector, 2014-15
                                      • Factors Influencing Trust – What You Need to Know

                                        • First step to trusting a brand is to actually use it
                                          • Ethics matter – to a point
                                            • Brands with a strong association of value may lack the trust of others
                                              • Brands should pay attention to their reputation
                                              • The Role of Awareness and Brand Experience

                                                • Experience of a brand helps to build familiarity and trust
                                                  • Figure 41: Brand awareness to usage ratio, by proportion of agreement with trust, 2014-15
                                                • Premium brands able to create trust on the basis of reputation as well as customer experience…
                                                  • …While tabloids, carbonated drinks and supermarkets under-perform compared to usage
                                                  • The Role of Ethics

                                                    • Ethics not a huge influencer on trust, but consumers do expect a minimum amount of CSR
                                                      • Figure 42: Proportion of consumers who associate a brand with the word “ethical”, by the proportion who trust that brand, 2014-15
                                                    • Brands with ethical images are often more niche
                                                      • Brands should still avoid being seen as unethical
                                                        • The dangers of negative social media coverage
                                                          • Starbucks in need of repairing image in wake of online criticism
                                                            • Figure 43: Proportion of total brand conversation around ethics and tax, 2010-15
                                                          • Banking brands tend to consistently suffer more online than others
                                                            • Figure 44: Proportion of brand mentions around ethics and unethical behaviour, 2011-15
                                                          • Yet Barclays and HSBC show improvement in image despite negative coverage
                                                            • Concerns over labour conditions create spikes but do not have the same reach or longevity
                                                              • Figure 45: Proportion of brand mentions around ethics and unethical behaviour, 2011-15
                                                            • Primark improving image in the wake of increased ethical initiatives
                                                              • Apple’s image remains largely unchanged
                                                              • The Role of Good Customer Service

                                                                • Trust is strongly shaped by customer experience
                                                                  • Figure 46: Perceived good customer service, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                                                                • A few brands break from the norm
                                                                  • Poor customer service a driver for change
                                                                  • The Role of Perceived Value

                                                                    • A reputation for value can be a defining point for a brand
                                                                      • Figure 47: Perceived good value, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                                                                    • Value isn’t about price alone – but low prices can define a brand
                                                                    • The Role of Perceived Quality

                                                                      • Increase in perception of quality can directly drive increase in trust
                                                                        • Figure 48: Perceived high quality, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                                                                    • The Role of a Good Reputation

                                                                      • Reputation crucial to trust in most cases
                                                                        • Figure 49: Perceived good reputation, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                                                                      • Amazon’s service and overall brand strength can minimise the impact of criticism
                                                                      • The Impact of Perceived Healthiness in Food Brands

                                                                        • Little correlation between healthiness and trust in food brands
                                                                          • Figure 50: Perceived healthiness, by proportion of agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2014-15
                                                                        • Concerns over health might still limit the development of trust though
                                                                        • Cross Category Comparison – What You Need to Know

                                                                          • Aldi and Lidl shaping new behaviours and attitudes in the grocery category
                                                                            • Consumers are more confident with value brands in general
                                                                              • Banking brands on the rise, but still can’t shake off past mistakes
                                                                                • VW’s trust has plummeted post-emissions scandal
                                                                                  • Ford has come out unscathed
                                                                                  • Discount Grocers Making an Impact

                                                                                    • Aldi and Lidl causing disruption in the supermarket category
                                                                                      • Figure 51: Trust over time of The Big Four supermarkets and Aldi and Lidl, August 2012-August 2015
                                                                                      • Figure 52: Usage of supermarkets in the last year, August 2012-August 2015
                                                                                    • Aldi and Lidl changing the meaning of value in the supermarket category
                                                                                      • Figure 53: The perception of offering good value over time in The Big Four supermarkets and Aldi and Lidl, August 2012-August 2015
                                                                                  • Trust in Value Brands

                                                                                    • Consumers now more trusting of value brands than before…
                                                                                      • Figure 54: Change in trust and usage in the last year of brands with high scores for offering value, 2012-15
                                                                                    • …but trust appears to have little impact on actual usage of these value brands
                                                                                    • Rebuilding Trust in the Banking Sector

                                                                                      • Consumers more trusting of the industry as a whole
                                                                                        • Figure 55: Proportion of people with any trust in different elements of the banking industry, June 2014 and May 2015
                                                                                      • Trust in individual brands is also on the rise
                                                                                        • Figure 56: Brand scores for agreement with “A brand I trust”, 2012–15
                                                                                      • Brands can take themselves out of the overall impact by showing themselves to be different
                                                                                        • Three brands most strongly affected by scandals in recent years
                                                                                          • Figure 57: Proportion of consumers who trust Barclays, 2012-15
                                                                                          • Figure 58: Proportion of consumers who trust The Co-operative Bank, 2012-15
                                                                                          • Figure 59: Proportion of consumers who trust HSBC, 2012-15
                                                                                        • All banks have shown signs of recovery, helped by their strong overall brand images
                                                                                          • Impact of drop in trust is minimal in the short term…
                                                                                            • Figure 60: Barclays trust and usage in the last 12 months, 2012-15
                                                                                            • Figure 61: The Co-operative Bank trust and usage in the last 12 months, 2012-15
                                                                                          • …but usage does not necessarily increase in line with trust afterwards
                                                                                          • Impact of the Emissions Scandal

                                                                                            • Emissions scandal knocks trust in Volkswagen
                                                                                              • Figure 62: Brand perceptions of Volkswagen, December 2014 and November 2015
                                                                                              • Figure 63: Brand perceptions of Audi, December 2014 and November 2015
                                                                                            • Other automotive brands also appear to have been affected
                                                                                              • Ford may stand to benefit the most
                                                                                                • Figure 64: Brand perceptions of Ford, December 2014 and November 2015
                                                                                              • Volkswagen in a position to recover
                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                  • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Primark brand attributes, 2012-15
                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Apple brand attributes, 2012-15
                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Amazon brand attributes, 2012-15
                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Barclays brand attributes, 2012-15
                                                                                                  • Appendix – Brands Covered

                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                    To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                    Trust and Brands - UK - February 2016

                                                                                                    £2,195.00 (Excl.Tax)