NEW DELHI: Nokia, the telecoms giant, and Colgate, the oral care specialist, are the two most trusted brands in India, a survey has found.

Business title the Economic Times partnered with research firm Nielsen to identify which products enjoyed the highest levels of awareness, familiarity and equity among shoppers.

Finnish handset maker Nokia entered India in 1995, headed the rankings for the third successive year.

The company claimed 71st place upon its chart debut in 2004, climbing to 44th in 2006 and fourth in 2007, and suggested such pre-eminence relies on a mixture of consistency and innovation.

"I would argue that the tougher the economic and social context, the more consumers reach out to comfortable, honest and authentic choices like Nokia," said D Shivakumar, its managing director in India.

"Trusted brands invariably respond to increased competition by focusing on what they do well and also by building something new for the future."

Colgate, active in India from the 1930s onwards, retained second spot behind Nokia, as it has in every annual study since 2008.

Previously, it had occupied first position four times in a row.

"In the future, I reckon we will see a handful of brands that will stand as beacons of trust," said Mukul Deoras, managing director of Colgate-Palmolive India, said.

Lux, Hindustan Unilever's soap range, was in third, boosted by its long-established status, having run its premier local ad campaign in 1927.

"As the consumer evolves, his or her preference for fragrance changes from basic to more complex notes," said Sudhanshu Vats, VP, home care and skin cleansing at Hindustan Unilever.

"The beauty of big brands is that they change, yet they don't change ... Heritage is important but you can never rest on your laurels."

Dettol disinfectant, part of Reckitt Benckiser's product stable, was in fourth, and recently launched a TV series aiming to promote health and hygiene.

Food group Britannia took fifth, ahead of five Hindustan Unilever offerings closing out the top ten - Lifebuoy soap, Clinic Plus shampoo, Pond's cosmetics, Fair & Lovely skin whitener and Pepsodent toothpaste.

"A brand is more than a name. It is a relationship based on an assurance, a promise and trust," said Nitin Paranjpe, ceo of HUL.

"Successful brands deliver these timeless values, build on them and resonate not just with the immediate needs of consumers but also their larger aspirations."

"In doing so, brands deliver on their immediate promise and also build a long-term relationship with consumers."

Elsewhere, the study assessed the leading digital brands in terms of popularity, relevance, online buzz, safety and privacy.

Google, the search engine, led the way, with its Gmail service in third and social network Orkut in sixth.

Yahoo Mail captured second, while its main portal was in fourth, search system in fifth and movie platform in ninth.

Rediff's email and search properties came in seventh and eighth respectively, and job site Naukri made up the top ten.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff