Most trusted brands during COVID-19 lockdown revealed

Latest survey results reveal in times of crisis the nation turns to home

In times of crisis, Australians turn to their homes, focusing on food and maintenance, according to the results from a Roy Morgan survey.

The research firm revealed that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, Australians nominated Bunnings and Woolworths as their most trusted brands.

While the country was in the midst of several restrictions, Bunnings emerged as Australia’s most trusted brand, with Woolworths coming in second. Despite travel restrictions and staff furloughs, Qantas was nominated as the third-most trusted brand.

Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, said it’s a great result for Bunnings and noted that, even when Australian’s can’t have a sausage sizzle, they still love the hardware chain.

“Bunnings keeps innovating and creating new connections with its customers. It’s a global retail case study,” she said.

Despite accusations of price gouging, delivery problems and supply chain failures, Woolworths rode the storm best and came out really trusted by Australians. “Woolworths was on the front foot from the outset and that appears to have resonated with Australians,” she said.

The Roy Morgan Risk Monitor revealed year-on-year, Qantas lifted two trust rankings, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) entered the top-10 most trusted brands for the first time since the Financial Services Royal Commission.

“Qantas and the CBA are the standout performers. Qantas was frequently in the media flying stranded Australians home from across the globe throughout the pandemic lockdown,” Levine said. “In early March, Matt Comyn, CEO of the CBA, moved quickly to offer financially stressed customers loan payment relief. He had a high profile during the lockdown and that has paid dividends for the CBA’s level of trust."

The Roy Morgan Risk Monitor surveys 1000 Australians every month to measure levels of trust and distrust in more than 800 brands across 25 industry sectors. Respondents are asked which brands and companies they trust, and why, and which brand and companies they distrust, and why.

The cost of distrust

The retail sector emerged as Australia’s most trusted industry, with the supermarket sector second and consumer products third. On the flipside, Facebook and AMP were revealed as the most distrusted brands in Australia during April 2020.

“AMP still struggles to recover from the Royal Commission fallout. We saw it leap from virtually no distrust to become the second most distrusted brand in the nation,” said Levine. “As a consequence, AMP’s soaring distrust saw billions of dollars withdrawn from investments under management and the company’s share price plummet by more than 70 per cent.

“That’s the real risk of distrust. It is not just a reputational issue, it has a material impact on a company’s revenues and market value.”

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