Brands win back trust
Brands are winning back the German’s trust: That was the takeaway from the current “Brand Experience + Trust Monitor 2017” carried out by Sasserath Munzinger Plus and UDG United Digital Group, which evaluated 97 national and international brands. Following a five-year crisis with trust at a consistently low level, 84 percent of the brands analyzed last year enjoyed increases in trust. However, consumers rated their brand experiences less positively than in the previous year – a clear warning sign. The representative online survey of Germany was conducted for the tenth time and is the only study that reveals the relationship between trust in a brand and the brand experience.
The brand with the highest trust ranking was Miele. Of those surveyed, 65.6 percent said they trust the brand. It was followed closely by dm with 64.6 percent and Nivea with 62.4 percent. These three German brands not only managed to maintain their top places from the previous year; they also all improved by at least two percentage points.
Amazon moved up one place to fourth, having steadily increased its trust rating from a low of 50.8 percent in 2015 to its current level of 61.9 percent. It was followed by Bosch, which finished three places higher than in the previous year with a score of 61.6 percent. The last three places in the overall ranking were held by Twitter (18.2 percent), Air Berlin (16.4) and the newspaper Bild (11.6).
The greatest increases in trust compared to the previous year were achieved by Microsoft (+14.9 percentage points), Burger King (+14.8) and Google (+14.2). Meanwhile Air Berlin (-9.0) and L’Oréal (-5.7) lost significant amounts of trust.
Food retailers are experienced positively
While trust is an important indicator for the strength of a brand, analysis of the brand experience reveals how the Germans see a brand across all points of contact, on and offline. The brand experience metric reflects the difference between the percentage of people surveyed who had positive experiences and those with negative experiences, so a negative score is possible.
In terms of brand experience, dm, the top brand from 2016, maintained its rank with a score of 63.6 percentage points. It was followed in second by Amazon with 63.3 percentage points, up one place year on year, and in third by PayPal with 57.3 percentage points. The payment service provider, which was first rated in 2017, has succeeded where many other (also digital) financial service providers failed: by allaying the Germans’ fears about their data, creating a positive brand experience and thereby earning a high level of trust. Bringing up the rear when it comes to experience quality were Air Berlin (-34.8 percentage points), the newspaper Bild (-19.5) and VW (-1.7).
The strong performance of food retailers was notable: The ten brands with the best brand experience included four companies from the industry: Aldi in fourth place (54.4 percentage points), Rewe in fifth (54.3), Lidl in sixth (53.5) and Edeka in tenth place (49.3).
Warning sign: brand experience scores decrease
Because our interactions have an immediate impact on brand experience ratings while trust is built up over time, a year-on-year decline in brand experience scores must be taken as a warning sign. And that was the case in 2017: The average score for all the brands surveyed decreased by five percentage points to 27 percentage points. Only five of the top 15 brands in terms of brand experience managed to improve their rating, compared to 2016: Samsung (+14.9 percentage points), Microsoft (+10.1), Lidl (+1.6), Aldi (+1.5) and Amazon (+1.5). Many of the others suffered significant losses. That’s why companies should closely monitor the brand experience at each individual point of contact and work to continuously optimize it, so they can continue to enjoy the consumer’s trust in the future.