There’s no better way to dissect the how-to’s of branding than to check-out the companies people know and trust. Entrepreneur teamed with a think tank that focuses on brand relationships, on a consumer survey that explored the reasons some brands manage to stay on top.
1. Get personal: Amazon
The online retailer of just about everything ran away with the list, posting the highest scores not just in overall brand trust but in every individual trust value.
2. Sell happiness: Coca-Cola
Ice-cold Sunshine. The Pause That Refreshes. Life Tastes Good. Since its inception, the promise of the world’s largest beverage-maker has been to delight consumers.
3. Live up to your promise: FedEx
With a straightforward passion for the task at hand, FedEx has created a strong corporate identity. Not surprisingly, the company received its strongest ratings in ability, specifically for being able to achieve what it promises and for the efficiency of its operations.
4. Keep it cool (and fun): Apple
What other company has the public and the press waiting breathlessly for each new product release? The bottom line is whatever that new Apple product is, consumers trust that it will be smart and sleek and that it will improve the way they communicate, work or spend their leisure time. What’s more, they’ll enjoy the experience of making the purchase.
5. Design an experience: Target
It’s easy to forget that Target is a discount store. With its sleek, stylish ad campaigns and collaborations with high-end designers who create limited-edition merchandise that sends fashionistas into a frenzy, Target’s public face often belies its mass-merchant status.
6. Stay consistent: Ford
In an era when the only thing that seems certain is change, Ford’s consistent branding has established the company as a beacon of reliability.
7. Can-do attitude: Nike
On its website, Nike declares its mission to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” adding, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
8. Forge connections: Starbucks
After suffering a slump a few years back, the world’s leading specialty coffee retailer has perked up its business and its brand by getting back to its original promise of bringing people together.
9. Serve up the quirky: Southwest Airlines
This low-cost carrier has consistently set its own route in the airline industry, creating a distinct personality through everything from open passenger seating to flight attendants who sing the safety demonstrations.
10. Focus on the customer: Nordstrom
When mythic stories circulate about your company’s awesome customer service, you know you’re doing something right. That’s the hallmark of this upscale department store, which is rumored to have once graciously accepted the return of a set of tires, even though the store has never sold tires.
About the survey: The Values Institute, which conducted the study, identified five values that influence trust in a brand: ability (company performance); concern (care for consumers, employees and community); connection (sharing consumers’ values); consistency (dependability of products/services); and sincerity (openness and honesty).
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