Brand trust is essential to many companies’ success, but if you recall even a few scandals of recent years it becomes difficult to imagine why we trust brands at all.

In the last decade you could have been in a road accident because your supposedly safe and environmentally friendly car suddenly accelerated unintentionally. If you then left a voicemail about the accident on a relative’s phone, a newspaper reporter may have heard it before they did – that’s if your phone didn’t explode before you managed to make the call. And what if you fancied bemoaning all this bad luck on social media? Well, unbeknown to you, the data you uploaded to the service could have been passed on without your consent to influence the result of an election or referendum.

These examples of trust breaches by big companies – respectively, Toyota, News UK, Samsung and Facebook – and the resulting bad press could explain why most attendees of WARC’s Behavioural Economics and Behavioural Change event raised their hands when Richard Shotton, head of behavioural science at Manning Gottlieb OMD, asked who in the audience believed brands were less trusted than they were 20 years ago.