When trust matters, and when it doesn’t

Insight

When trust matters, and when it doesn’t

Bombarded with product options and relentless advertising, we would expect consumers to prefer, engage with, and recommend brands they trust. In reality, trust doesn’t strongly affect consumers’ first choice, recommendations, willingness to pay more, or engagement for a lot of things. Except, that is, when consumers are getting from A to B.

Evidence

Brand trust has little relationship with likelihood to recommend to friends and family, willingness to pay more, or overall Participation Brand Index score across Consumer Tech, Retail, and Snacking. In Automotive however, trust has a big say in customers’ first choice and willingness to recommend a brand. And in travel, and airlines in particular, there is an extremely strong relationship between trust and first choice, price premium, and likelihood to recommend.

Implication

Legacy brands have long attempted to win customers by embedding trusted heritage as part of their brand DNA (i.e. “trusted since 1953” or “America’s most trusted brand”) to win consumers. But in an ever-changing consumer goods world where trust alone is no longer a persuasive reason to buy, brands will need to reevaluate their heritage plays. But when it comes to transportation, whether on the road or in the air, trust still plays a dominant role.