The Value Of Trust
Consumers reward the brands they can trust
Trust matters to consumers everywhere, but in Australia, the need for trust runs deep – part of the notion of everyone having a “fair go”.
BrandZ data shows, however, that while the healthiest brands also tend to be the most trusted, consumers here feel that few brands truly merit their trust.
Trust is important not just because it’s an indicator of whether a consumer will buy a brand, but also because BrandZ global research shows that trust and recommendation are strongly linked. Recommendation matters enormously now, given the increasingly widespread usage of social media.
When we compare how Australians feel about the Top 30 most valuable home-grown brands with how people in other markets feel about leading brands from their own country, there’s a significant trust gap. We use 30 rather than 40 brands for comparison as several overseas rankings only go to 30.
Making Trust Pay
In the Australian Top 40 ranking, the brands that increased their brand value between 2018 and 2019 did so on a foundation of trust.
The average brand scores 100 for trust.
Not surprisingly, banks are the least-trusted category this year, and banking brands’ values have taken a significant knock. Retail, food and drink brands are generally far more trusted than banks and other businesses in the service sector, such as telecommunications and insurance brands.
Retailers are 27 percent more trusted than the average brand in Australia, and grew 2 percent in average brand value in 2019. Food and drink brands in the ranking are 9 percent more trusted than the average, and rose in average value, albeit by just 1 percent this year. Services brands were in negative territory for brand value growth, and are only as trusted as the average brand. In fact, there are no services brands among the Top 10 most trusted brands in Australia.
Trust often takes many years to earn and, as we have seen, is a fragile and precious thing. Some of the most trusted Australian brands have indeed been around for decades.
Adding Meaning, Making Magic
The most valuable brands, not just in Australia but around the world, are those that stand out from the crowd in a way that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s really that simple, and we call it having Meaningful Difference.
Meaningful Difference doesn’t just get a brand recognised or remembered; it adds to the bottom line.
The Top 10 brands in this year’s ranking are, despite the past year’s travails, still 20 percent more Meaningfully Different than the average of all Australian brands. Brands 11 to 20 perform 12 percent better than average, and those brands in the bottom half of the table are 7 percent higher than average on the Meaningful Difference scale. The eight newcomer brands in the Top 40 have an average Meaningful Difference score of 110 (the national average is 100).
When the magic truly happens is when Meaningful Difference is built on a foundation of trust.
Brands that are highly trusted AND score highly for Meaningful Difference have performed six times better in terms of brand value this year.
Those with low scores for both have declined at a higher rate than for the entire Top 40, dropping in value by 7 percent, on average, compared to 5 percent for the whole ranking. Those with high trust and Meaningful Difference scores have been protected from the worst of the value decline, and have lost only 1 percent of their value this year. This underscores the power of a strong brand to insulate a business during difficult times.
Meaningful difference fuels strongest growth
The five fastest-rising brands in the 2019 ranking are from five different categories. What they have in common is a strong performance on the Meaningful Difference scale. In fact, these five brands are 20 percent more Meaningfully Different than the average brand.
Calling a Spade a Spade
Bunnings is the most trusted brand in the Australian Top 40, defined by a very clear purpose, strong communications and real emotional warmth. Known almost as much for its charity sausage sizzles as for its range of hardware and garden supplies, Bunnings is also seen as a great communicator, and is much-loved by consumers.
The brand shines in many areas; it is the third-highest-ranked retailer in the Top 40, as well as the fastest-growing brand from any category, by a huge margin – driven by the brand’s importance in the new-look Wesfarmers parent company, after Coles was spun off. Three clear areas of strength among many are Bunnings’ perceived trustworthiness, its sense of meaning, and how different it is seen as being compared to the competition.