A survey led by affilinet has blown open the low levels of trust UK consumers have with brands, who fall behind bloggers, friends on social media and celebrities in an index on the all-important attribute.

Much has been made of brands and their move towards building customer loyalty as opposed to driving one-off sales. But while it was somewhat expected that family and friends would score at the top of affilinet’s ‘Trust Index’, few would have had brands placing ninth.

Bloggers stole the show in third – their neutrality and authenticity when publishing content garnering a huge amount of praise from consumers. But for brands, 88% of which were found to be investors in content marketing from a CMA study last year, it seems they’ve plenty of work to do in building trust.

“It’s a very British thing, not to trust anyone; we’re a sceptical and wary bunch. I’m not surprised to see politicians at the bottom of the pile but perhaps a little surprised to see brands so low,” commented affilinet MD Helen Southgate.

“What is encouraging though is the role that bloggers and social media play within consumer trust. But we must as marketers respect that and not take it for granted or abuse the position of trust earned by these affiliates.” 

Placing faith

The index also made room for work colleagues, in fifth, while journalists did their reputation no harm by placing sixth. 

But it was bloggers who were subject to the most attention after being the highest ranking party outside of a Brit’s friends and family. 

For the reference of publishers needing a bit of a helping hand in building trust, the survey revealed some of the ways bloggers have managed to earn their reputation. Over half of the group (55%) said bloggers that give balanced reviews on products naturally instilled trust, with 53% saying the same about the authenticity of published content.

“The fact consumers look to bloggers to provide them with information about areas of specific interest, goes right to the heart of the evolution of digital marketing,” added Southgate.

“The question for bloggers is now how they go about building on this trust, maintain editorial integrity, and at the same time, monetise their site.” 

The full ‘Trust Index’ is as follows:

1. Family
2. Friends
3. Bloggers
4. Social media contacts
5. Colleagues
6. Journalists
7. Religious leaders 
8. Celebrities
9. Brands
10. Politicians