The world’s most popular brands-- Apple, Amazon, Google-- have something in common: they all make great products and services that people now depend on.
They revolutionized their industries, then revolutionized them again and again, which has kept consumers dialed in and interacting with them every day at all hours of the day.
But being popular isn’t the same as being trusted.
Although there is a lot of crossover, as you’ll see, the most trusted companies in the world have some unique qualities that make people inherently trust them. (On top of it, those previously mentioned popular brands have a few qualities that make them a little less trustworthy).
For businesses seeking to establish trust, it’s imperative to understand who has accomplished that and why, and then identify new ways to gauge and monitor how trusted they are viewed by their customers and audiences.
So, before we take a look who makes the list of the most-trusted brands, let’s first see how brands and companies can find out how trustworthy they are and also breakdown why these leading brands are viewed so positively.
Monitor and Listen Closely and Often
Keeping close tabs on your brand and how its perceived is the first step to garnering more trust from audiences. If you don’t know who has what to say about you, you can’t really gauge whether or not you’re a trusted entity.
Concurrently, being always keyed into your community to see how you’re performing on all channels and at all consumer touch points will enable your team to see how you’re viewed and whether trust levels are up, down, or sideways.
As you’re well aware, brand trust is a fluid thing. You’ll see, some brands have mastered the art of building a loyal trust with consumers. But most will find that how people perceive their business varies depending on what the company does, its ad campaigns, its PR tactics and crisis management, product launches and other important factors.
GoPro, for instance, is a fairly trusted brand in the camera and video industry, but brand trust may take a hit if they layoff hundreds of people while rumors of the company looking to be sold are swirling, which happened in the winter of 2017.
On the day of news about layoffs:
The day after:
Similarly, clothing brand H&M has a massive following and some big name celebrity endorsements from people like rapper The Weeknd. Must be a trusted brand. But in early 2018, after a racially insensitive advertisement struck the ire of the masses, audiences who expressed trust in the brand took a dip.
From day of Advertisement Launch:
And from 12 days later:
And The Weeknd said “see ya”, leaving H&M with a pretty bad case of the Mondays.
Trust is like the stock market. Everything you do as a business impacts how people will invest their trust in you. And you have to be the financial advisor, constantly watching the ebbs and flows of the trust stock market.
To do this, you’ll need social listening tools like Infegy Atlas, which help your team listen in on the ticker tape of billions of online conversations from across the web to see how audiences talk about, feel about, like, dislike about your brand.
With the right tools not only can you measure trust, but other key data points that you’ll want to incorporate into your analytics.
These include: positive or negative sentiment; themes like acquisition, expectation, purchase intent, attraction or creativity; as well as emotions, such as anticipation, joy, anger, surprise, fear, disgust and, yes, trust.
How the Trusted Brands Stay That Way
Building and maintaining trust in this always-on world requires establishing personal, one-to-one connections with consumers that was not previously necessary or possible.
Digital communication has changed how people view brands and, on the flip side, how brands communicate with consumers and showcase themselves to the world.
People are vigilant in their company and product research, and they truly care about a company’s openness, accessibility, integrity, stance on issues, honesty and how they run their business.
This means that transparency is undeniably crucial to whether or not people will trust a brand.
Other factors include: Making reliable products, supplying high quality customer service, and providing people with valuable information and services on a consistent basis all have an important role in shaping public perception and brand loyalty.
Whole Foods Market, for example, has proven to customers over the years that they meet their wants, needs, desires, pain points and interests. They’ve done this by giving them the right products, implementing great brand messaging and content, and showing people how to eat and shop healthier. The company’s authority in this niche has increased as it continues to build that trust.
Being bought by another company on this list, Amazon, who also immediately began an effort to cut prices at Whole Foods, helped keep and strengthen trust from consumers. As you can see, trust in the Whole Foods brand increased a day following the announcement.
22% of audiences expressed trust in Whole Foods after announcing price cuts
As with any marketing analytics, you can analyze brand trust and brand favorability to see how your efforts help or hurt how people feel about you, then curtail your marketing, advertising, in-store experience, product offerings and new campaigns based on this data.
The most trusted brands on earth constantly monitor how audiences perceive them and look for trends and pinpoint why that data shakes out that way.
Finally, the highly trusted brands are innovative and forward thinking in how they build strong connections with their customers and fans. Here are 5 ways they do that:
Be an open book. Let customers in on who you are as a company, what your mission is, what your plans are and who the humans are who make the company go.
People want personalized messages. Time to start building one-to-one relationships with the people who matter at scale. This will require you to be more nimble and omnipresent so you can reach people on a more personal level with your brand.
Your brand needs to be reachable at many touchpoints. Have a presence in a variety of different locations and channels. People trust those they can get a hold of easily.
4. Data-Driven Strategies
Analyze your audience and marketing performance and take that data seriously. The numbers will tell you if what you’re doing is working. Keep consistently providing value to to the right people, and you’ll garner trust with those who matter to you.
5. Listening to Your Audience
If the audience doesn’t love what you’re up to, listen to them and change. In an age where brands are now a tweet away from their customers, you need to monitor and listen to the online community, engage them and take action that your audiences want.
Now that we’ve explored how to establish trust, track audiences’ trust and maintain that trust, let’s take a look at the ones who do it best.
We crunched the numbers. Here are some of the world’s most trusted brands.
The trust scores are based on a year's worth of online conversational data from Infegy Atlas. We did this for the purpose of timeliness and relevance. However, these companies could easily plug in dates back to 2007, to see who is most trusted over a decade of time.
We used the “Trust” emotion metric in our social listening tool which measures the amount of online conversations that express the trust emotion when they discuss the brand. Typically, we see around 3-5% of brand mentions from audiences expressing trust. So, these numbers are impressive all things considered.
We then combined trust with the brand favorability metric within Infegy Atlas to assess how these brands are viewed by audiences everywhere. The higher the numbers, the better.
With that, here are the most trusted brands:
The Most Trusted
The Rest Of the Leaders
Procter & Gamble
Ford Motor Company
Walt Disney Company
Johnson + Johnson