Brand competition is intense and shelves are crowded. With thousands of new products being added each year, increased competition from private label, and shopping fragmentation due to the rise of e-commerce and the share economy, building brand trust is a critical task for marketers to break through the clutter. Trust is a foundational element of building and maintaining brand health and achieving strong in-market performance.
But just as shopping priorities differ among consumers, so does their trust in brands. In the U.S., the consumer landscape is changing, with women playing a larger role in the economy. According to a Nielsen survey, women are the sole breadwinners in 40% of U.S. households with children, controlling 4.3 trillion (73%) of U.S. spending. So when it comes to brand trust and the gender divide, what brands are seen as trustworthy in the eyes of men and which in the eyes of women?
Nielsen recently released a consumer packaged goods (CPG) focused wave of the 27th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study showcasing the top 10 most-trusted CPG brands among women and men. The brands that have earned consumers’ trust are well-established brands, with a long history of consistently delivering on their brand promise.
When it comes to trusted brands for women, products that topped the list are related to convenience or health in their households. From Ziploc food storage bags to Dawn dish soap, many of the products on this list help make women’s lives easier in some way. For women, trusted brands are tried and true and have stood the test of time. The products women trust the most are brands that are key to everyday life; they are brands women trust to get the job done right, allowing them to focus on more important aspects of their busy lifestyles.
For men, brand trust is a bit more diversified. With a variety of health, tech (batteries) and a few indulgent items (including Glenlivet and Ghirardelli), there is a mixture of trusted practicality and reliable pleasure. Globally, sales of both healthy and indulgent categories grew over a two-year period, but growth in healthy categories outpaced indulgent categories (+5% and +2%, respectively).
BAND-AID brand adhesive bandages appears towards the top of both gender lists as a trusted brand. In a world full of cuts, scrapes, and blisters both genders find it hard to imagine life without reliable adhesive bandages. While this category includes many private label products, BAND-AID has been able to effectively compete with low-cost alternatives. Perceptions about private label are overwhelmingly favorable—almost three-quarters of global respondents (71%) say private-label quality has improved over time. Still, in many categories, strong, healthy, high equity brands are able to command a price premium. We tend to see private-label growth come at the expense of small- and mid-sized brands, while category leaders remain relatively safe.
Measuring brand health is critical to sustaining and growing brands. As brand proliferation continues to increase with new items giving consumers greater product choices, manufacturers must understand the value, benefits and drivers of brand equity. Brand trust is one of many important factors that influence equity, sales and market share. Manufacturers can leverage brand trust to boost sales of new products: nearly 6-in-10 global respondents (59%) prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them.
Harris Poll EquiTrend® is based on a total sample of 88,609 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over surveyed online in English language between June 10 and July 10, 2015. The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 2,267.* Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Respondents were asked their familiarity with brands and rated the brands they were somewhat, very, or extremely familiar with. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll® surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.
*A small portion of the CPG brands were surveyed in an earlier wave between Jan. 8 and Feb. 2, 2015, with a sample size of 33,742. The total number of brands rated was 123 in wave 1 and 2,144 in wave 2.