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Just one-third (33%) of consumers who rely on advertising for brand information say they trust its messaging, making it the least credible source of information among the options given, according to a recent report [download page] by Kantar Media.

In what might likely cause grumbles among creatives with already low morale, advertising doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations among consumers. At least in the US, advertising is not seen as enjoyable, is perceived as interruptive, and advertising practitioners are considered to have low ethical and moral standards. As a consequence, marketers may need to consider other methods to address the issue of brand trust.

Trust has been a topic of note in much research featured previously, and while only half of Americans trust business as an institution, there have been rises in certain industries. A survey of CMOs and brand managers showed that the need to establish trust is a concern for an overwhelming majority of marketing leaders. The reason for this is that trust has a significant impact on large purchase decisions, while two-thirds of consumers say they are attracted to brands that are transparent.

A deep overview of what drives purchasing behavior is available in the US Purchase Influencers Report [available to download from $149], but what are the most trusted sources of information in this study?

Top of the list are friends and family, with nearly 8 in 10 (78%) who use those close to them for brand information saying they trust the results. This aligns with separate data from SurveyMonkey, putting recommendations from friends and family at the top of the purchase influence hierarchy.

Following this are review sites. Some 44% of the respondents across 5 markets use reviews for brand information, with 7 in 10 of these trusting the information they find. Reviews are particularly powerful for online shopping, and consumers expect brands to have a large number of reviews for products they are viewing. Separate research has put reviews above influencer or celebrity endorsements in terms of influence, mirroring the findings from this survey.

The third-most trusted source of information was the internet and websites (63%). This was the only option where the percentage of those using this source (72% in this case) was higher than the percentage of users who trust that source of information.

Next on the list were company websites, with more than half (54%) of those using them trusting them. Only around a quarter (27%) of those surveyed said they used company websites as a brand information source, though, which also aligns with figures from Episerver showing that just 23% of online shoppers make a brand’s website their first destination when browsing for inspiration.

Newspaper / magazine articles also had more than half (53%) of those using them placing trust in their reporting as a source of brand information, which is only slightly ahead of those trusting blogs / vlogs (49%).

Social media comes next – though fewer than half (46%) who rely on social media for brand information trust it as a source. For brands looking to develop trust among Millennials in particular, fast response times have been noted as a factor that builds loyalty.

The full results are available online here.

About the Data: Figures are based on interviews with 5,000 connected consumers in Brazil, China, France, the UK and US (1,000 each).

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