MUMBAI: Samsung, Sony and Tata are the three most trusted brands in India according to a new study, which also indicates that trust for some auto brands is growing fast.

The Brand Trust Report from TRA, a brand intelligence company, surveyed 2,500 'consumer-influencers' across 16 Indian cities, and listed a total of 1,200 brands from the 20,000 cited by respondents.

Over the four years the study has been running Samsung, the consumer electronics company, has risen steadily up the rankings from fifth, to fourth, to second and finally first. N. Chandramouli, TRA chief executive, said this demonstrated how Samsung had focused on "the core intangibles" of the brand.
"When a brand focuses on its trust with intensity, apart from trust the brand gains in market share, product premium and acceptance of new products as an automatic by-product," he declared.

Phone manufacturer Nokia, last year's most trusted brand, slipped to fifth spot, overtaken by Sony, the consumer electronics business, in second, and Tata, the automotive-to-consumer goods conglomerate, in third. LG, another consumer electronics brand, rose from tenth to fourth.

Hewlett-Packard was the most trusted technology brand, in sixth spot, while auto manufacturers Hero and Honda took the seventh and eighth slots respectively.

Two more conglomerates made up the top ten. Reliance, in ninth, operates across petrochemicals, telecoms and retail, while Mahindra & Mahindra, in tenth, covers automotive, aerospace, energy and financial services.

Hero leapt 79 places to become the most trusted auto-specific brand, but other auto brands had also risen up the rankings. Maruti Suzuki jumped 26 places to 11th, Hyundai 80 places to 15th, TVS 114 places to 25th and Toyota 59 places to 50th. But BMW, in fourth spot last year, slid to 150th.

TRA's analysis showed that among the top 100 Most Trusted brands, 75 were net gainers while 25 took a fall, with the average gain outweighing the average loss by 317%.

Chandramouli speculated that, in a slow year, "brands took the opportunity to focus more on their trust intangibles, scoring points in the process".

But focus needed to be continued. "For long term sustainability and success, it is important that brands have a long term investment in trust," he added.

Data sourced from TRA; additional content by Warc staff