Consumer research firm Millward Brown recently conducted a survey of the most trusted and recommended brands in the United States. Here's the list:
10. UPS (United Parcel Service)
Now, some observations.
First of all, Procter & Gamble has to be feeling pretty good about this list, since three of its brands show up on the list (Downy, Tide and Pampers). Many consumers, I dare say, may not even know who manufactures their favorite brand of detergent, but they sure do recognize that orange box with a bullseye in the middle.
It's also intriguing that the number one and the number eight brands on the list are Internet-only entities, meaning consumers are only able to interact with these brands via a keyboard and a computer screen. What's more, Amazon is only 15 years old, while WebMD is but a dozen years old, proving both the ubiquitous nature of the Internet as well as the ability of unknown entities to quickly become top-of-mind if they satisfy a need or fit into a underserved (or nonexistent) niche.
Those who, like me, closely follow the supply chain and logistics landscape are encouraged to see both FedEx and UPS on the list, which illustrates if nothing else the demand of consumers for instant gratification.
I'm a bit surprised at the complete lack of high-tech or media companies on the list -- no Apple (or iPod), no Disney, no Sony, no BlackBerry. Not sure exactly what that means.
Obviously, this survey was conducted before Toyota's current problems with sticky accelerators became front-page news, and based on the current hearings going on in Washington right now, at least for the moment you'd have to assume Toyota would probably slip out of the Top 10. Still, Toyota can be encouraged by looking at the company that sits one notch above it, which similarly faced its own moment of reckoning in the public eye after a highly-publicized product recall: Tylenol. If Toyota proves that it has identified the problem, has fixed it and will never let anything like that happen again, then the many years of goodwill it built up in the public's eye will be reinforced. If, however, the public starts thinking Toyota has been reckless and arrogant, then more likely than not, Toyota will suffer in the long-term.