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January 22, 2020

Building Brand Trust. Here Are Some of America’s Most Trusted.

Tony treadway

More cherished than gold, brand trust is a gold mine when it comes to long-term profitability for a company. In a recent brand workshop for a new client, we heard a leader within the company say, “I want our brand to be trusted” as a key deliverable. Brand trust is something you earn through a long-term systematic approach to your brand building effort. It is a result of a company’s commitment to its employees and its customers. It is not a deliverable.

According to Morning Consult, a leading brand intelligence organization, the average American’s trust of the U.S. government (only 7%) and the news media (8%) are emblematic of a great distrust of large groupings of organizations. Meanwhile, on an individual level, a person’s primary doctor (50% trust) and even individual companies (Amazon at 39% and Google at 38%) is much higher. Among Hollywood stars and household names, Tom Hanks is tops at 34%, ahead of Oprah at 27%, Donald Trump at 20% and Warren Buffet at 15%.

Earning trust is the hard part of being a brand with a cult-like following. According to the survey there are four important ways a company earns brand trust.

  1. The company is noteworthy for treating its own employees better than they are required by law to do and regardless of race or gender (yes, do unto others).
  2. The company does not try to hide important information in the fine print in the way that they conduct their business (nope, no surprises).
  3. The company is a good custodian of a customer’s private information (data privacy).
  4. The company produces products in an ethically responsible way.

Beyond these lofty expectations, consumers expect great brands to readily offer refunds if products don’t meet expectations, offer exceptional customer service and that a company’s products or services live up to any advertised promise consistently. The biggest challenge is to do all of these things over generations. In fact, of the top 100 most trusted brands in this year’s report, only two brands came into existence after 2000.

Take a glimpse at Morning Consult’s Top 25 Most Trusted Brands for 2020 from their survey that includes all demographics:

While Gen Zs and Millennials rank Google, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and PlayStation number 1 -5 there is a common thread within some of these old and trusted brands. While not as sexy as a Netflix, the U.S. Postal Service can be said to check the big boxes on brand trust, just like Chick-Fil-A or Crest toothpaste.

Going back to our most recent brand workshop… When we asked the CEO of the company what he wanted his company to be known for a decade from now. His reply? “I want our company to be one of the ‘best places to work’ for my employees.” He just checked off one of the pillars of building brand trust. We will check back in a decade to see if the company deliveres on its brand trust aspiration.

If you would like to begin your trek toward becoming a cult brand, let’s have a discussion.