A corollary to the saying out of mind is out of sight is that those who are perpetually visible manage to endear themselves to their stakeholders. In the case of brands, it means their consumers. The latest edition of the Brand Trust Report, released by the Mumbai-based TRA, bears this trend out.
The report, which measures consumer trust in brands, reveals that names in advertising-heavy categories such as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), food & beverages (F&B) and automotive occupy nearly 36 per cent of the overall list. This comes even as consumer durables and technology are dominant players in the top 20 ranking.
“A total of 362 brands out of an overall list of 1000 brands are from the categories of F&B, FMCG and auto,” N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA, says. This is an indicator that essential items are still most trusted by consumers. “But the top 20 is about aspiration and the top three rank-holders Samsung, Sony and LG are from consumer electronics. While Apple, a technology brand, is ranked fourth on the list,” he says.
In fact, the top three categories of F&B, FMCG and auto barely mark their presence in the Top 20 apart from Honda and Maruti Suzuki, who come in at sixth and seventh positions and Patanjali
and Lux, who come in at fifteenth and twentieth places respectively.
Some of the other players in the top 20 list include Tata
at fifth position, Dell, Lenovo, Bajaj
and Hewlett Packard at numbers eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh and Bata at twelfth. State Bank of India, Nokia, Airtel, Philips, LIC
and Reliance Jio are ranked thirteenth, fourteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth.
Jio, says Chandramouli, is a first-time entrant, speaking of the power of disruption. “Jio was launched in September 2016 and our field work for the latest edition of the Brand Trust Report
was conducted between October and December of 2016. To win trust in such a short span of time means that consumers have accepted the brand with open arms,” said Chandramouli.
But Jio is not the only disruptor on the list. Patanjali, says Chandramouli, is another brand that has seen a big jump in trust this year. “From 576 in 2015, Patanjali's ranking in 2016 was 173 and fifteenth in 2017. That is a big jump indicating that consumers believe in the brand and take what Patanjali
and its co-founder Baba Ramdev say seriously,” he says. Patanjali, in fact, is ahead of the other FMCG brand Lux
from rival Hindustan Unilever in the top 20 list indicating where consumer priorities now lie, Chandramouli says. “Patanjali
kicked off the herbal/ayurveda
revolution in India and what the brand has done in recent years is to maintain its lead on that front. The result of this is that consumers have increasingly come to trust it, which is visible in the jump in rankings the brand has seen over the years,” Chandramouli says.
Ironically, while Samsung electronics and durables has emerged the number one player on the Brand Trust Report
this year, it has done so by knocking off big brother Samsung Mobiles from the number one pedestal. While this is the second time that Samsung (durables and electronics) has taken the number one position—it was the leader in 2014—the last two years belonged to Samsung Mobiles.
“Samsung Mobiles has fallen to the 154 position from number one last year. It is a big fall indicating that technical glitches and issues can take the sheen off product brands no matter how big they are. Samsung was plagued with the Note 7 explosions, which reduced consumer trust in the brand despite the fact that it was a leading smartphone player and had taken corrective action. The drop in brand trust was partly linked to its leading position in the market. Consumers simply found it hard to believe that a brand as big as Samsung could be plagued by these issues. Hence the drop,” Chandramouli says.
Incidentally, another brand plagued with issues, specifically, corporate governance issues, was the Tatas, which appears to have weathered the storm. It retains its spot this year, indicating that legacy brands are perhaps better equipped to hold on to trust.