Australians lose trust in brands

27 March 2012

SYDNEY: The level of trust Australian consumers place in brands has declined by more than 20% over the last two years, a survey has found.

Brand Asset Consulting, a unit of WPP Group, asked 5,000 internet users to provide their opinions of approximately 1,300 offerings across 121 product categories.

Google, the online giant, Apple, the electronics pioneer, IKEA, the furniture retailer, PayPal, the digital payments service, and YouTube, the video-sharing platform, claimed the top five spots.

Microsoft and its Windows 7 operating system took the next two positions respectively, beating eBay, the ecommerce site, Wii, Nintendo's gaming system, and Dyson, the home appliances specialist.

Vegemite, the spread, was the first Australian brand to feature in the rankings. It came in ahead of Subway, the sandwich chain.

However, the analysis found that shopper trust in the products assessed had contracted by 22% in just two years, according to Keith Newton, national director at Brand Asset Consulting.

"There are several factors contributing to this decline," he said. "The need for innovation is too often sacrificed in the pressured quest for sales. Widespread discounting has also undermined what some brands actually stand for."

Brands in the financial, insurance, retail and utilities sectors all witnessed decreases, something Newtown attributed to a mixture of price increases, confusing offers and the perceived low quality of customer service.

"The bar for leadership has risen and the need for innovation is too often sacrificed in the pressured quest for sales," he added.

Qantas, the airline, was one brand which has seen its reputation score dwindle during the last five years, a process lent further weight after the firm grounded its fleet in a dispute with staff in 2011.

Dairy Farmers, the dairy group, also saw a slide in this area, as did Kodak, the imaging company, OPSM, the opticians, Mr Sheen, the cleaning brand, and Drymocks, the bookstore.

Data sourced from BndT/Herald Sun; additional content by Warc staff