Just 7% of UK consumers polled by Cohn & Wolfe, as part of its recent Authentic 100 survey of 12,000 consumers in 14 markets, described brands as "open and honest"; only Swedish consumers were more cynical, as a mere 5% agreed.
The rankings were based on three elements that those surveyed said were most important to them: how reliably a firm delivered on its promises; how well it treated customers and protected their data and privacy; and how honest and genuine they were.
The UK Authentic 20, a country breakdown of the global survey, highlighted a number of brands that one might expect to feature as well as at least one surprise.
The first three places, PR Week reported, were occupied by retailers of various stripes – John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and The Body Shop – followed by the BBC and another retailer in Boots.
The reputation of the Boots, however, has taken a hit in recent weeks, as it was accused of abusing a medicine-use review scheme in order to claim public money from the NHS and boost profits.
The Guardian related how changes in ownership – it is now owned by US pharmacy chain Walgreens – have driven a change in culture that is far removed from that which prevails at, for example, John Lewis, part of the UK's largest employee-owned business.
The next five places were taken by Lego, Debenhams, Nationwide, Dyson and Innocent. At eleventh, Amazon was the highest ranking US brand, while in 17th place Waitrose – part of the John Lewis Partnership – was the only supermarket listed.
The surprise package was Branston Pickle which was ranked in 19th place.
Data sourced from PR Week, The Guardian, Cohn & Wolfe; additional content by Warc staff