MUMBAI: Internet access is changing Indian consumers’ perceptions of brands and trust is becoming a key driver of brand value, according to a new BrandZ study.

The Most Valuable Indian Brands analysis, which combines financial data and consumer opinion, reported that highly trusted brands in the 2018 ranking had a value 86% higher than those low in trust.

The study noted that the advent of social media and consumers’ greater access to online information has meant that brands now have the opportunities to rise on the trust parameter of the brand value eco-system.

“Brands that stay meaningful to their customers, are differentiated, and have saliency are the ones that not only stay on top but also consistently top the list,” said CVL Srinivas, Country Manager of WPP.

“One of the sub-themes that is coming out strongly these days is that brands need to build trust with consumers,” he added, in remarks reported by Exchange4Media.

This was exemplified by HDFC Bank, the most valuable brand in the ranking, which BrandZ explained had continued to build trust by clearly communicating the benefits of its products to consumers and delivering differentiated financial services offerings consistently and repeatedly.

And while heritage may be a factor in boosting trust for a financial brand, it’s certainly not essential, as demonstrated by the presence of Paytm at number 12 in the ranking; the e- payment brand gained users during demonetisation and added credibility from investment by Warren Buffett.

Another theme that emerged from the study was a form of premiumisation, which, Vishikh Talwar, Managing Director at Kantar Millward Brown, South Asia explained, is not restricted to the top end of the market.

“It’s just a trend of upgrading; if I move from economy to popular I am moving up the ladder,” he said.

And this effect is especially evident in rural India, which is “upgrading its choice of brands at a faster rate than urban India”, Talwar reported.

Sourced from Kantar Millward Brown, Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff