- Packaged foods giant Campbell Soup and Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex topped a ranking of brand personalities that measured traits such as trust, openness, imagination and friendliness, according to a study that consumer review site Trustpilot shared with Marketing Dive.
- Campbell boosted its stature with a focus on corporate social responsibility and more natural product offerings, making it the most reputable U.S. brand. Rolex was rated the most reputable brand in the U.K. and globally with an openness rating in the 99.8th percentile, along with an association with desirable qualities like wealth and victory as a sponsor of successful athletes in golf and equestrian events.
- Trustpilot leveraged IBM's Watson Personality API — an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that uses linguistic analysis to infer the personality characters of individuals based on their writing samples — to study the press releases of the 50 most reputable brands determined by the Reputation Institute.
Brand personality is key for connecting with consumers, with Trustpilot citing characteristics such as adventurousness, intellect and authority-challenging behaviors as important. The "big five" basic personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and emotional range, the firm determined.
But carving out a strong personality isn't necessarily an indicator of business health. Sales of Campbell Soup, for example, have slid in eight of the past 10 fiscal years, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the company continues to look for a turnaround. Barnes & Noble, another high performer in Trustpilot's rankings, has also struggled in the Amazon era and amid internal turmoil. The company, the largest bookstore in the U.S., was acquired by financial firm Elliott Advisors earlier this month, per Retail Dive.
Failures to translate a personality that consumers welcome into concrete results suggests that many household brands could be more innovative with their marketing. Still, Trustpilot's rankings highlight what's resonating more with consumers at the moment, particularly in regards to qualities like transparency.
Brand openness is significant in demonstrating a continual willingness to listen to customers and collaborate with them on improving their experiences. By knowing what ideal consumers appreciate, marketers can tailor brands that become known as trusted leaders, according to Trustpilot.
Rolex, pasta maker Barilla, underwear brand Fruit of the Loom, plumbing products maker Kohler and auction firm Sotheby's scored in the 99th percentile for openness, while most brands ranked in the 87th percentile. The most reputable brands in the U.S. and U.K. scored in the 91st and 89th percentile for openness, respectively.
Barnes & Noble topped the ranking of conscientiousness, the tendency to act in an organized and thoughtful way, with a score in the 93rd percentile, ahead of Hershey, Innocent Drinks, Dean Foods and Publix. U.K. retailer Debenham's had the highest rating for extraversion, the propensity to seek stimulation in the company of others, with a score in the 89th percentile, ahead of Mastercard, Marriott, Dean Foods and John Lewis.
Most brands scored in a lower percentile for agreeableness, a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative toward others, although Barnes & Noble ranked the highest with a score in the 79th percentile, ahead of Hershey, Greggs, Hallmark Cards and Publix Super Markets. Mastercard was the top-ranked brand by emotional range, a measure of sensitivity to surroundings, with a rating in the 98th percentile, ahead of Adidas, Aldi, USAA and PayPal.
Trust was another important trait of reputable brands, with top companies scoring in the 92nd percentile for trust and 94th for uncompromising standards. Trust indicates a tendency to believe the best about others, and when the quality comes through in brand efforts and is supported by a solid reputation, it can be very appealing to customers.
Trustpilot found that Toyota was one of the most trustworthy brands, maintaining its reputation for reliability by redesigning its popular Camry model and adding to innovations for it hybrid Prius model.