In September, Reader’s Digest revealed the results of their Most Trusted Brands in America Survey. Over 4,500 Americans took the online survey which awarded the distinction to winners in 40 product categories ranging from bathroom tissue to airlines. A majority of the winners were predictable based on the category; however a few really stuck out to me for one reason or another. So I looked a little closer at some of the winners. Below is a small sample of the list:
– Airline: Southwest
– Automotive (Car/SUV) Domestic: Ford
– Automotive (Car/SUV) Import: Toyota
– Coffee: Folgers
– Credit Card: Visa
– Headache/Pain Reliever: Tylenol
– Mobile Phone/Tablet: Apple
– Online Shopping Site: Amazon
– Pet Food: Purina
– Soup: Campbell’s
For me, these were all no brainers. If quizzed, I may have been able to guess the winner for each of these categories without breaking a sweat. But look closer. These brands have more in common than just ‘trust.’
What I came to realize is that most of the brands named as winners are not the best in terms of quality and are not necessarily the ‘most trusted’ as this list would lead you to believe. These brands spend a lot of time and money on marketing, promotions and social interaction annually, and have very high exposure to consumers. There is absolutely a correlation between exposure and trust, however quality is not the linchpin that connects them together.
Consumer experience compared to its cost is the overriding factor that determines trust. With today’s ‘what have you done for me lately’ consumer mentality, telling the customer how great something is will no longer do. They need to experience first-hand how great your product or service is without breaking the bank and feel like the brand has provided something of worth or its on-to-the-next-one. This is especially true for products with an equal competitor comparatively priced or slightly lower.
So how do you become a trusted brand?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a blueprint but there are certain things that brands can do better to become more consumer conscious and build trust:
1. Provide Quality at a Reasonable Price.
High quality at a low price breeds repeat business and heightens the customer experience.
2. Be Transparent with your Audience.
Stay ethical! Nothing kills brand credibility more than lies and deceit. You have multiple channels to reach your audience, exhaust them and keep their safety top of mind.
3. Keep Your Interaction Authentic.
Nobody likes a fake. Keep your interactions personable and genuine. Believe in what you say and stand by it.
4. Become the Authority.
Offer more than just a product or service. Give your audience relevant and accurate information about your niche that they otherwise wouldn’t know. Become the brand that everyone turns to for information in your field.
A complete list of the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands in America can be found here.