Brand Leaders Panel 2020 GBTI Report
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Gustavson Brand Trust Index reveals consumers’ trust in brands is at an all-time low

VICTORIA, B.C. - June 15, 2020 - The Gustavson Brand Trust study shows that faith in brands is on the decline, even as society becomes more reliant on certain services and products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, the brand trust research team at the Gustavson School of Business mobilized a follow-up study to their 2020 report, conducted annually in January since 2015, to gauge changes in consumer trust in the wake of COVID-19.

“While trust in key institutions has been eroding significantly over the past few years, the average brand trust scores for all brands surveyed in 2020 are at an all-time low,” said Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business.

Klein said this can be attributed to the rise in consumer skepticism, with consumers growing more conscious of their purchasing habits while closely watching the values brands stand for.

“Brands that were unable to make products available to customers during the pandemic saw a decline in trust scores,” said Klein. “For example, despite the fact that Lysol and Clorox enjoyed increased demand, they lost trust among consumers due to the scarcity of their products on shelves.”

The initial 2020 study was conducted between January and February of this year and measured 7,800 Canadian consumer opinions about 342 well-known corporate and product brands across 27 categories. This study showed that Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canadian Automobile Association, Costco, Home Hardware and Home Depot ranked as the top brands overall.

A second, separate study was conducted in April and measured opinions from 1,050 Canadians of 105 brands from the original list. This post-COVID study indicated the most trusted brands during the pandemic were Canada Post, Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix and CTV News.

The Gustavson Brand Trust Index investigates consumer trust, the factors that affect it, the brands that succeed at it, and the brands that struggle with it. The team at the Gustavson School of Business established the index in 2015 to raise awareness of the role trust plays in the minds of consumers when making purchasing decisions. The index highlights how shared values, relationship management and customer experience influence consumer trust. It also measures the relationships between brand performance, social equity, trust and advocacy for brands in Canada.

Other key findings

Trust in Canadian telecom companies is on the rise. Past year-over-year results had telecom companies showing signs of trouble with nearly all of the companies seeing a decline in their brand trust scores. This year, however, saw three out of the big four telecom companies show significant improvement after the pandemic struck.

Millennials are less trusting compared to any other generation. Millennials assign their loyalties to organizations that are proactive in solving long-standing social issues and contribute to making the world a better place. For example, Lush, with its history of donating to progressive groups and advocating for many causes, was the most trusted brand in Canada among ages 18-35.

The new role of a brand’s supply chain. The pandemic reinforced the need for brands to pay attention to their supply chains. For an organization to be trusted and seen as credible, it must ensure the availability and competitiveness of its products.

Read the full report at https://www.uvic.ca/gustavson/brandtrust/assets/docs/final--gbti-2020-main-report.pdf

Brand Trust Index Webinar

Join us for a discussion on the Gustavson Brand Trust Index, and what brand trust looks like for businesses post-COVID-19 on June 17, 2020. Guests include Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business; Jeff Walker, CEO of CAA North & East Ontario; Sandra Sanderson, senior vice-president, marketing, SOBEYS; and Tom Newitt, vice-president of marketing for A&W.

This free webinar will take place on:
June 17, from 1 - 2:30 p.m. EST
To register, email: deepa.pillay@beattiegroup.com

Media contacts:

Deepa Pillay (Beattie Tartan) at 250-619-7110 or deepa.pillay@beattiegroup.com
Krista Boehnert (Communications, Gustavson School of Business) at 250-721-6630 or bizadext@uvic.ca

About the University of Victoria
UVic is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, offering life-changing, hands-on learning experiences to more than 21,000 students on the edge of the spectacular BC coast. As a hub of transformational research, UVic faculty, staff and students make a critical difference on issues that matter to people, places and the planet. UVic consistently publishes a higher proportion of research based on international collaborations than any other university in North America, and our community and organizational partnerships play a key role in generating vital impact, from scientific and business breakthroughs to achievements in culture and creativity. Find out more at uvic.ca. Territory acknowledgement

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Media

What Is the Gustavson Brand Trust Index?
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Exploring consumer trust in brands

Exploring consumer trust in brands

Most Trusted Brands 2020

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How are we measuring trust?

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Resources

The 2020 Gustavson Brand Trust Index 5 Key Lessons from the last 5 Years of the Gustavson Brand Trust Index The Complete 2020 Gustavson Brand Trust Index with Top Brands, Key Insights, and More. Backgrounder-The 2020 Gustavson Brand Trust Index The 2020 Gustavson Brand Trust Index Rankings
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