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    What You Can Learn From the Most Trusted Brands

    18 minute read
    What You Can Learn From the Most Trusted Brands

    Picture this scenario: It’s 1995. You’re riding your bike around your neighborhood with friends. One wrong move, and suddenly you’re on the ground, cradling a scraped knee. You bravely hold back tears as your friends help you to your feet. 

    Back home, your mom lets you pick out your favorite “Lion King” Band-Aid for your injury. With the strength of Simba on your knee, you get back on that bike, ready for a new adventure. 

    In its “Most Trusted Brands 2023” report, business intelligence company Morning Consult named Band-Aid as the No. 1 Most Trusted Brand in the U.S. for the second year in a row with a net trust score of 57.50. The net trust score is calculated by deducting the number of surveyees who don’t trust a brand from those who do.  

    As a staple of first-aid kits for more than a century, it’s no surprise that Band-Aid is number one, given its lasting power. 

    Brand trust is hard-won and so easily lost — especially across generation groups. One misstep and your brand can take a back seat to competitors. 

    If you want to be listed among the most trusted brands, like Band-Aid, Levi’s, and Kellogg’s, you’ve got to earn it. Here’s how to build brand trust. 

    Why Is Brand Trust Important?

    Brand trust is important because it signifies that customers’ money, time, and efforts are in good hands

    Without brand trust, consumers will disregard your company for another — and they’ll tell everyone they know to avoid you too, which would be a certain death for your brand. 

    Media research company Nielsen reports that 88% of consumers prioritize recommendations from people they trust over any other channel. You can say goodbye to your sales if consumers badmouth your brand to others. 

    Positive reviews from customers are crucial for brand trust. According to Salsify’s “2024 Consumer Research” report, a survey of 2,700 U.S. and U.K. consumers across generation groups, brand reputation (24%) and positive customer reviews (23%) are the top two reasons why shoppers trust a brand. 

    Even during moments of economic turmoil, brand trust can convince customers to spend more money. For example, 34% of survey respondents are willing to choose a more expensive product if there’s perceived higher quality.

    You’ll remain at the forefront of customers’ buying decisions if they trust you — so the effort to build and maintain that trust is necessary.

    How To Build Brand Trust and Win Shoppers’ Loyalty 

    You can gain customer trust and loyalty by offering seamless omnichannel experiences, social proof, and budget-friendly options, and by staying on top of trends. 

    Deliver Seamless Omnichannel Experiences Across Every Touch Point 

    While 29% of shoppers prefer online shopping and 22% prefer in-store shopping, 49% desire a perfect blend of the two, per Salsify consumer research. 

    Omnichannel experiences will allow you to capture interest from every generation group, as many prefer a mix of online and in-store, including:

    • 53% of millennials;
    • 51% of Generation Z (Gen Zers);
    • 47% of Generation X (Gen Xers); and
    • 46% of baby boomers.

    Delivering a seamless omnichannel experience will bridge the gap between the digital and physical shelves for consumers and prevent abandoned carts.

    Provide Social Proof 

    Social media is an excellent opportunity for brands to interact with consumers on a new level and participate in social commerce

    Morning Consult ranks YouTube as the most trusted social media brand, with a net trust score of 44.56. Pinterest is ranked number three with a 27.14 net trust score, and Instagram is ranked number four, with a net trust score of 14.06. 

    Forty-three percent of shoppers turn to social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube for product and brand discovery, and 34% recently purchased items directly through social media, according to Salsify consumer research. 

    Social commerce provides an opportunity for consumers to purchase products directly in-app, but that doesn’t mean they can’t compare prices and products on other sites. Salsify research says that 31% of consumers are engaging in more price comparisons before buying. 

    One Gen Z consumer research respondent says, “I compared prices elsewhere, found that this was best, and went back to social media to purchase.” 

    Working with social media influencers to promote your brand is a great way to build trust with your desired audience. 

    According to Salsify consumer research, different generation groups buy products on social media based on influencer recs, including:

    • 32% of Gen Zers;
    • 25% of Gen Xers;
    • 16% of millennials; and
    • 9% of baby boomers.

    Influencers have the power to make your brand go viral and sell out, revive older brands, ignite (or reignite) trends, and so much more. 

    Offer Budget-Friendly, Sustainable Options

    As the economy continues to shift, shoppers are prioritizing budget-friendly options that are good for their wallets. Thirty-nine percent of Salsify surveyees say that they’re increasing their focus on budget-friendly options, while 35% are prioritizing essential purchases over non-essentials. 

    You can appeal to the budget-friendly shopper by implementing loyalty programs, discounts, free shipping, digital coupons, and more. 

    Sustainability is also top of mind for many shoppers, as 34% are resonating with eco-friendly packaging and 27% with fair labor practices. 

    To capture their trust, you can dedicate sections of your website to your philanthropic and sustainability efforts. Outdoor gear and clothing brand Patagonia achieves this flawlessly. 

    Stay on Top of Trends

    Trends are constantly changing, and brands need to keep up if they want to keep shoppers satisfied

    While social commerce and cost-consciousness represent two of the biggest consumer trends, artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot-button topic. Most consumers show hesitancy toward implementing AI in their lives, but that may change as it’s integrated into more ecommerce tools. 

    Currently, 24% of shoppers are interested in virtual shopping assistants, and 23% want personalized brand or product recommendations. 

    Personalized shopping experiences are an excellent way to offer customers something unique and tailored that keeps them coming back for more. 

    What Makes a Brand Untrustworthy?

    What are the factors that lead to abandoned sales and damaged trust? Price is a big one — Salsify research says 58% of shoppers have abandoned a sale due to high prices. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re untrustworthy. 

    Shoppers are turned off by “bad” product content. You know the type: incomplete product pages, terrible product images, disjointed omnichannel experiences across touch points. 

    According to Salsify research, 45% of shoppers have sent an item back due to incorrect product content. There’s nothing worse than excitedly waiting for a purchase in the mail only to discover that it belongs to a list like “What I Bought vs. What I Got.” 

    When it comes to abandoning a sale over brand trust, every generation group is prone to do so, including: 

    • 42% of Gen Zers;
    • 32% of Gen Xers; 
    • 29% of millennials; and 
    • 23% of baby boomers. 

    If you want to avoid the death knell of abandoned shopping carts, you must optimize your product content for seamless shopping experiences. 

    3 of the Most Trusted U.S. Brands 

    Band-Aid, Levi’s, and Kellogg’s are three of the most trusted U.S. brands, per Morning Consult. Here’s what they get right and how you can emulate them. 

    1. Band-Aid’s Reputation As the Most Trusted U.S. Brand Sticks

    What makes Band-Aid the most trusted brand in the U.S. two years in a row? 

    Emily Moquin, food and beverage analyst at Morning Consult, says “It {Band-Aid} has some of the values at its core about safety and care and wellbeing … There’s a very close linkage in our minds to jump from that to trust because this is a point where parents are helping their kids feel better, or we’re taking care of our cuts and boo-boos,” via Business Insider

    Band-Aid’s website features its brand story, product listings, first aid info, FAQs, and store locator prominently at both the top and bottom of the page. Consumers who are in a hurry (mid a potential medical emergency) don’t have to dig through the site to find what they need. There’s even a nurse hotline number.  

    In dire moments — and not-so-dire ones — this accessibility is crucial in building brand trust.  Band-Aid website screenshot

    Image Source: Band-Aid 

    The adhesive brand’s 1975 slogan, “I’m stuck on BAND-AID BRAND cuz BAND-AIDS stuck on me,” holds true.

    2. Levi’s Jeans Remains an American Clothing Essential 

    Founded in 1853, Levi’s is Morning Consult’s number-one trusted apparel, footwear, and accessories brand, with a net trust rating of 49.62, ranking above Hanes, Adidas, and Wrangler.

    Morning Consult says “It’s not a coincidence that Levi’s is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its iconic 501 denim style in the same year that it leads the most trusted brands list in its category.”  

    Levi’s ranks highly with baby boomers and Gen Xers, though millennials and Gen Zers aren’t far behind. 

    Morning Consult also notes that the brand has remained relevant over the last century, evolving with its consumers. Levi’s partnership with Target is an excellent example of the brand’s ability to keep up with the times. 

    Levi’s Secondhand is the denim company’s attempt to participate in the fashion resale market, a highly trendy sustainability movement that especially resonates with younger generations like Gen Z.Levi’s Secondhand just-added jeans section

    Image Source: Levi’s Secondhand

    Morning Consult couldn’t say it better: “Levi’s exemplifies the power of American heritage.” 

    3. Kellogg’s Has Lasting Power

    Kellogg’s ranks second in the top 10 most trusted brands food and beverage category, with a net trust score of 51.90. 

    Morning Consult says, “It was among the first cereals to become widely available to American consumers. Today, the Kellogg’s brand name adorns products across the entire grocery store. This longevity and heritage leads to near ubiquity in terms of consumer awareness, which translates into favorability, and, in turn, trust.” 

    Kellogg’s promotions

    Image Source: Kellogg’s 

    Founded in 1894, the cereal brand has expanded to include 19 different brands, including familiar names like Kashi, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Special K. 

    Kellogg’s website features sections dedicated to coupons and promotions, which appeal to the cost-conscious consumer. 

    Much like Band-Aid and Levi’s, Kellogg’s has lasting power and adaptability, which makes it a fan favorite. 

    What Do the World’s Most Trusted Brands Have in Common?

    Though these three brands are from different categories, they’re more alike than different. 

    The most trusted brands: 

    • Offer seamless omnichannel experiences;
    • Keep up with the latest trends; and 
    • Anticipate and cater to customers’ needs. 

    If you want to gain the same level of trust, you must create excellent in-store and online product experiences, stay on-trend, and keep a finger on the pulse of consumers’ shopping habits and desires. 

    The Importance of Building Brand Trust

    Brand trust isn’t won overnight — especially not from Gen Zers. Consumers will continue to avoid your brand if the price isn’t right, you don’t have an engaging social media presence, and your product pages miss the mark. 

    By adapting to meet all of these consumer expectations, you’ll show them that you have what it takes to become their favorite brand — and, more importantly, their most trusted brand. 

    Featured images -  Consumer Research 20244

    2024 Consumer Research Report

    Download the report to learn what constitutes brand loyalty and trust and gain insights into the latest trends.


    Written by: Madeline Koufogazos

    Madeline Koufogazos (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, based out of Boston. She enjoys sharing her insights on consumer trends and behaviors, commerce, media, pop culture, and travel.

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