CPG Brands Rate High for Trust

Household names like Procter & Gamble’s Tide and Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies dominated the list of the “most trusted and recommended brands” in the U.S., though e-commerce site Amazon.com snagged the top spot, per a new study by Millward Brown.

The report polled 20,000 consumers last quarter. The “TrustR” (trust/recommendation) score is compiled from data taken from BrandZ, a global study of consumer brand equity the research firm has been running for the past 12 years.

Ranked third through sixth on the list were Downy, Huggies, Tide and Tylenol, respectively, and Pampers came in at ninth place. Consumer packaged goods brands require a high level of trust and personal connection with consumers, said Eileen Campbell, global CEO of Millward Brown, a WPP-owned research company. The latter is particularly important when it comes to products you are “putting on you, in you, or particularly on your kids,” she said. “It’s really important that moms feel a sense of trust when using those brands, and [that sense of trust] held up globally. It’s not just an American phenomenon,” Campbell added, citing research conducted in other countries that netted similar results.

Similarly, consumers ranked Amazon.com and FedEx first and second because of the high degree of trust and reliability they’ve come to expect from these brands, Campbell said. But one thing the study, which was conducted for the first time by Millward Brown and is likely to be published on a quarterly basis, shows: Trust in itself is not enough. “You can have a brand that you trust a great deal, but if it doesn’t have some form of talkability [attached to it], it won’t translate to the sales effect,” Campbell said.

Amazon.com, for instance, ranked highest because it’s not only a “consistent provider” of e-commerce goods, but there is also the “recommendation piece of it,” Campbell said, referring to one of the site’s features, which recommends products to buyers.

One notable oddity on the survey is the appearance of Toyota (seventh on the list), which has been in the spotlight lately for its recalls.

Millward Brown noted that data for the study was conducted over the course of 2009, and it wasn’t until January that Toyota’s issues came to light. But another brand, Tylenol, has had multiple recalls over the years, including one for children’s liquid medicines in 2009. The brand’s No. 6 ranking on the list should come as a lesson for those pointing a finger at Toyota, Campbell said. “Doing well in a crisis actually builds trust,” she said.