The top 13 most trusted brands in Canada of the 342 that the Gustavson Brand Trust Index research team runs its annual survey on. The survey asks 7,800 Canadian consumers their opinion each year with new brands being included. (Gustavson Brand Trust Index Image)

COVID-19 soured consumer trust, says UVic-based group

Facebook finishes last in Canadian consumer poll

When COVID-19 hit Canada the demand for Lysol and Clorox disinfecting products soared, but something else happened too.

A great many consumers who relied on cleaning products during the pandemic also lost trust in the brand due to the “scarcity of their products on shelves,” said Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.

Klein spoke about the results released by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index on June 15 that showed Canadian consumer faith in brands is on the decline. This comes even as consumers became more reliant on specific services and products during the pandemic.

“Brands that were unable to make products available to customers during the pandemic saw a decline in trust scores,” Klein said.

READ ALSO: Opinion: Trust in brands critical for big companies

The post-COVID follow up was an addendum to the 2020 annual Gustavson Brand Trust Index report. The research team had initially run the 2020 study between January and February and measured 7,800 Canadian consumer opinions on a range of 342 corporate and product brands. The annual report has been going since 2015 and this year the top three names were Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and the Canadian Automobile Association tied for the top spot, with Costco third, Dyson vacuums at fourth and Home Depot at fifth.

Of the 342 brand names that people were asked to respond to, Facebook finished last.

Chinese firm Huawei electronics was 341st, likely due to the U.S.A. charging them with international trade malpractice and whose CEO, Meng Wanzhou, has been living in Vancouver under house arrest since 2018.

Twitter was third-to last, part of a decline for social media in general, Klein said.

Following the report’s initial completion, in April, a research team from the Gustavson School of Business carried out a follow-up study to gauge changes in consumer trust in the wake of COVID-19. This study measured opinions from 1,050 Canadians on 105 of the brands in the Trust Index. It was there the study found companies such as Lysol and Clorox were suffering from the scenes of empty store shelves, which were well documented in the news.

The post-COVID-19 results indicated the most trusted brands during the pandemic were Canada Post and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix.

Overall, the Gustavson Brand Trust Index has shown trust in key institutions has been eroding significantly over the past few years, Klein said.

“The average brand trust scores for all brands surveyed in 2020 are at an all-time low,” 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.”

READ MORE: Colum: Has social media passed its peak?

The Gustavson Index had shown a decline among the big four Canadian telecom companies, though this year, telecom companies showed significant improvement after the pandemic struck.

Telus is 265th, Shaw 286th, Rogers 324th, Bell 338th, out of the annual report.

One of the most telling takeaways from the annual report is the value and loyalty millennials put on organizations that are socially involved and contribute to a better world. Lush soap company, for example, was the most trusted brand in Canada among ages 18 to 35, due to its history of donating to progressive groups and advocating for many causes.

The Gustavson Brand Trust Index team is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday (June 17) that will discuss what brand trust looks like for businesses post-COVID-19. Guests include Klein; Jeff Walker, CEO of Canadian Automobile Association in North and East Ontario; Sandra Sanderson, senior vice-president, marketing, Sobeys; and Tom Newitt, vice-president of marketing for A&W.

The free webinar starts at 10 a.m. Register by emailing gustavsontrust@uvic.ca.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read