The majority of Americans say they do not have much (29%) or any (25%) trust that corporate America will do what is right. Yet about three-quarters (74%) say they trust individual brands to deliver consistently on what they promise, and more than half say that a brand has to do something wrong before they lose trust in them. With trust emerging as a key lever in brand loyalty, a new report [download page] from Morning Consult looks at the factors consumers consider when deciding to trust a brand.
Some 73% of the 2,200 US adults surveyed say that protecting their personal data is a “very important” factor when it comes to whether to trust a company – making this the factor with the broadest consensus among respondents. Data privacy security is a common thread in recent research; a Pew Research Institute survey showed that 70% of Americans feel their personal data is less secure than it was just 5 years ago, while the CMO Council and Cheetah Digital found that brands list securing and respecting personal data that has been voluntarily provided as one of their top priorities for securing the trust of their customers.
Unfortunately, only one-quarter (25%) of respondents say they have a lot of trust in the average major company to protect data privacy.
Another important factor respondents consider is if the company consistently delivers on what it promises (69%). Although past research shows that customers are pessimistic about whether brands live up to the promises they make, this more recent survey finds that only one-fifth (20%) say they do not think brands deliver on their promises much or at all.
Longevity is another factor that influences trust, with a majority of US consumers saying they are more likely to trust a brand that has been around for a long time. Evidence of this is that only two of the Morning Consult’s 100 Most Trust Brands were founded after 2000.
Young Adults Are Less Trusting of Brands
More than two-fifths (42%) of Gen Z adults (ages 18-22) say they tend to not trust the average American company and, for them, trust must be earned. Millennials (30%), Gen X (28%) and Boomers (26%) are less likely to hold this default view of the American companies, with the majority (63%) of Boomers having the opposite view in that they tend to trust a company until it does something bad to lose that trust.
Only 20% of Gen Z and 24% of Millennial respondents say they have at least some trust in corporate America doing the right thing. These two generations tend to consider ethical issues, such as: the company’s ethical or political values, if it treats its employees better than required by law and equally regardless of race or gender; and if it produces products in an ethically responsible way. Indeed, almost half (45%) of Gen Z respondents say they need to know that a company is run in an ethical and responsible way if they are going to trust it.
Most Trusted Brands
Morning Consult’s report also looked at the most trusted brands in the US. The following lists the top 5 major brands that Americans say they trust “a lot”:
- USPS (42%)
- Amazon (38.8%)
- Google (37.9%)
- PayPal (36.5%)
- The Weather Channel (36.3%)
It is worth noting that although Netflix is one of the most loved brands in the US, it did not make it into the top 10 of the most trusted companies. Nonetheless, it did come in high in trust for younger adults, ranking #2 for Gen Z and #5 for Millennials.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 2,200 US adults in December 2019. The Most Trusted Brands rankings were determined using a survey of 16,700 interviews per brand for nearly 2,000 brands.