NEW DELHI: Personal care brands head the list of India's most trusted brands, with Colgate at number one and Hindustan Unilever claiming four of the top ten spots, a new study has shown.

Research group Nielsen surveyed 7,200 consumers asking them to rate brands on four attributes – quality, value for money, whether they would recommend them to family and friends, and whether the brands met their needs.

While Colgate retained its leading position, Dettol, the Reckitt Benckiser brand, climbed three places to number two. It has ventured into new categories beyond the original antiseptic, and is now a major player in soaps, liquid handwash and kitchen cleaners.

Chander M. Sethi, Reckitt Benckiser's regional SVP South East Asia, attributed the rise to the brand's fundamental positioning of 'Be 100% Sure'. And Partha Sinha, chief strategy officer, South Asia, Publicis India, observed that, as the original brands in this area, Dettol and Colgate were not reliant on advertising to build trust as consumers built their trust with usage.

The Economic Times also noted that such brands had benefited from a series of health and hygiene awareness initiatives, including school hand-wash and hospital programmes.

These also helped Hindustan Unilever brands, with two soaps, Lifebuoy and Lux, in the top five. Its Clinic Plus shampoo was in third spot and its Closeup toothpaste in tenth.

In addition, Lifebuoy has run a series of campaigns aimed at showing how washing hands can help prevent illness and death, including Help A Child Reach Five, which won a silver in the Warc Prize for Asian Strategy.

And a paper submitted to the 2013 Admap Prize held up Lifebuoy as an example of how brands could maximise profit while doing social good.

Hemant Bakshi, executive director - home and personal care at Hindustan Unilever admitted that the company's brands played a small part in people's lives, and added that the focus was on consumers as human beings not just as buyers of products. "We keep teaching our marketers that great marketing happens when logic and magic meet," he said.

An example of this was the printing of messages on rotis during the 2013 Kumbh Mela reminding people of the need to wash their hands before eating.

The top ten most trusted brands were rounded out by fruit drink Maaza in sixth, telecoms brands Nokia and Airtel in seventh and eighth respectively, and Maggi seasonings in tenth.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff