Lessons from Canada’s most trusted brands

Kellogg's, Sun Life and Toyota continue to rank highly in the 2020 edition of the list from Reader's Digest and Ipsos.

Trust continues to play a major factor in the purchase decisions of most Canadians, according to the 2020 edition of the Most Trusted Brands list from Reader’s Digest, which also reveals which brands and products have maintained that trust with consumers.

The annual list covers brands across 31 product categories, based on a survey by Ipsos that polled over 4,000 Canadians with open-ended questions.

Joining the “Platinum” winners – brands that have won their respective product categories for ten or more years – are Coppertone for sun care products, Kellogg’s for breakfast cereal, Sun Life for life insurance and Toyota for both passenger cars and hybrid cars (Kellogg’s also won in the breakfast bar category, while Sun Life tied with Blue Cross as the winner in health and dental insurance).

This year’s “Gold” winners – which have won at least five consecutive years – include Silk in non-dairy beverage, Nestle Pure Life in bottled water, Shoppers Drug Mart in pharmacy/drug store, Tetley in tea and Home Depot in home improvement retailer. Tylenol got a pair of Gold designations in the arthritis pain reliever and the headache pain reliever categories, on top of a win in cold symptom reliever; Behr has Gold status in interior paint, on top of wins this year in the exterior paint and the exterior stain categories.

As with past years, the Most Trusted Brand survey also posed several questions to track the role brand trust has in purchase decisions. This year, 92% of respondents said they tend to choose products from brands they trust more, in cases where price and quality are similar (up slightly from 91% who said the same in last year’s survey). While price can remain a big factor, 48% of Canadians make their product choices on price alone, while 77% say they’ll pay “a little more” for products from companies they trust.

Trust also has a role in consumer decisions that could impact areas of a brand’s business outside of sales. The survey found 88% of Canadians are more likely to invest money into a company they trust, 92% are more likely to work for a company they trust and 73% believe they are more likely to remember ads from brands they trust.

Word of mouth recommendations are a major factor in purchase decisions, and 83% of Canadians say they are more likely to recommend brands they trust to friends and family. While person-to-person recommendations carry the most weight with consumers, 62% say they trust online reviews and ratings. However, the same level of trust doesn’t extend to influencers: only 37% say they trust influencer reviews for products and services.

There are, of course, certain actions a brand or company can take to increase the degree to which Canadians trust them. Ipsos’ poll shows that 91% trust a company that will “stand behind their products,” while 79% say they are more likely to trust a company that announces product recalls. Costs also play a factor: 90% of Canadian consumers say they are less likely to trust products or services with hidden costs, while 85% are more likely to trust a company that offers a money-back guarantee.

A selection of winners can be found below, with the full list of winners on the Reader’s Digest website.

Food and Beverage:
Breakfast Cereal: Kellogg’s
Tea: Tetley
Bottled Water: Nestlé
Sparkling Water: Perrier

Consumer Packaged Goods:
Sensitive Skin/Dry Skin Lotion: Aveeno
Pads/Liners: Always
Incontinence Product: Depend
Interior Paint: Behr
Exterior Paint: Behr
Exterior Stain: Behr
Pet Food: Purina

Arthritis Pain Reliever: Tylenol
Allergy Reliever: Reactine, Claritin
Cold Symptom Reliever: Tylenol
Headache Pain Reliever: Tylenol

Hybrid Car Manufacturer: Toyota
Passenger Car Manufacturer: Toyota

Automobile Insurance Company: Intact
Home Insurance Company: Intact
Health and Dental Insurance Company: Blue Cross, Sun Life Financial

Home Improvement Retailer: The Home Depot
Pharmacy/Drug Store: Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix
Beauty Retailer: Sephora