A Matter of Trust

Written by Rohit Nautiyal | Updated: Feb 8 2011, 08:30am hrs
It wont be wrong to say that the era that we live in is characterised by an enormous trust deficit. In a company, the only reason a brand exists is to build a relationship of trust with its stakeholders. Recently, Trust Research Advisory (TRA), a research organisation dedicated to understanding and simplifying concepts related to trust, conducted a study titled The Brand Trust Report, India Study, 2011.

Compiled into a 116-page report, the study is the result of detailed research to understand trust which included discussions with communication experts and behavioral scientists. On this basis, TRA created a proprietary trust matrix comprising 61 different components. With this, a syndicated primary research on brand trust was kicked-off across nine cities in India, covering 2,310 respondents. The study generated nearly 10,00,000 data points and 16,000 brand names were recalled by the respondents. The Indian Statistical Institute helped create a statistically robust Brand Trust Index which has been used to hierarchically rank Indias most trusted brands.

According to the results of the study, Finnish mobile handset brand Nokia stands out as Indias most trusted brand. The Tata brand comes second, with the Japanese electronics giant Sony taking the third spot. Korean brands LG and Samsung were at the fourth and the fifth positions, respectively. Reliance (both ADAG and RIL) comes at number six with accepting responsibility as its most prominent composite. Maruti drives in at the seventh position, followed by the government backed Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Airtel, Indias largest telecom services company, dials in at the ninth position and watch brand Titan stands at number ten.

N. Chandramouli, CEO of TRA, sees brand trust as the soul of the primary bond of engagement. Over the years, the more evident connotations of trust like pedigree, size, and performance have changed, and more subtle forces are beginning to exert their influence on brand trust. Early on, we realised that brand trust along with other intangibles like happiness, cannot be achieved directly and instead must be derived from its myriad components, which are often elusive. Once such concepts of the study evolved, they were applied empirically in businesses, helping us create a structured format for the analysis of Brand Trust, he adds.

The study also names cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at number 59 on the list of most trusted brands of India, and the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, at number 232. Pepsi has once again come out fizzier at number 36 compared to its rival, Coca-Cola, which follows at number 60.

The Times of India has been chosen as the most informative print source across the four zones, followed by Hindustan Times and India Today at number 2 and number 3. DNA comes next with a preference from the West.

Commenting on the launch of the report, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India says, The depth of this report would help brands understand and improve trust, the most essential bond in all relationships.

Adi Godrej, chairman of Godrej Industries, (Godrej ranks at 22 in the Brand Trust Report) is quoted in the report as saying, Trust as a value evolved to being more about empathy which helps the brand deliver powerful and innovative experiences to its consumers, and thus going beyond insights and products alone. Beyond legal rights, Godrej believes that the copyright of its brand is actually held by the millions of consumers, partners and employees in its ecosystem and is activated every time someone somewhere chooses Godrej.