- Technology and CPG brands comprise many of the "most trusted brands of 2020," according to an inaugural report that Morning Consult shared with Marketing Dive. The United States Postal Service ranked No. 1 on the list of most trusted brands among U.S. consumers. Amazon was No. 2, while Google held the No. 3 spot and PayPal ranked No. 4.
- More than half of the top 25 spots on the list were held by CPG brands, including three on the top 10: The Hershey Company tied for No. 7, Cheerios at No. 9 and M&M's at No. 10. The Weather Channel (No. 5), Chick-fil-A (ranked 6), and UPS (tied for 7) rounded out the top 10 list.
- The report also revealed that levels of distrust are high in America, but it found that brands can win trust by protecting consumers' data privacy, not hiding important information in fine print and treating employees better than the minimum required by law. The report includes feedback from 16,000 consumers on almost 2,000 brands.
Consumer trust has been on the decline in recent years as companies like Facebook, Marriott and Capital One have suffered massive data breaches and exposed customer data. This study reveals that mistrust is common among consumers, who have grown accustomed to seeing institutions fail.
"From news anchors to labels on food packaging, few ideas, people or institutions command broad trust from the American public," according to the report. "More than two thirds of respondents say that, in general, Americans have become less trusting in recent years."
Yet even as people are losing faith, the majority are willing to give companies the benefit of the doubt. The report revealed that 74% of Americans trust the average major company to be consistent and deliver on its commitments. Another 55% said they trust the average American company, and a business would have to do something wrong to lose this trust. Only 28% of consumers surveyed for the report said they flat out don't trust the average American firm.
However, the report also provides a path for brands to win consumer trust: by protecting data privacy, not hiding important information in fine print and treating employees better than the minimum required by law. "If applicable, brands could consider messaging campaigns to help consumers understand their efforts in each area to build trust," the report suggests.
It also finds varying levels of brand trust among different demographic groups. Google is the most trusted brand among Gen Z and millennials, while USPS is the most trusted among older generations like Gen X and baby boomers. This is a reminder that brands must consider different consumer demographics when crafting and tailoring brand-based initiatives.
In a time where mistrust abounds, Google and Amazon have managed to remain relatively well-regarded in consumers' eyes. Both companies also ranked among the most valuable brands in Interbrand's recent examination of brand equity. This suggests that despite distrust among some firms, people are still willing to put their faith in tech giants that dominate large parts of their lives.