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What it Takes to Become One of the UK's Most Trusted Brands

British Airways Boeing in flight

What it Takes to Become One of the UK's Most Trusted Brands

Earlier this year, Superbrands crowned British Airways as the UK’s most trusted brand in both its business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) categories. It was the third consecutive year that the well-known and long-trusted classic British airline won the consumer ‘battle of the brands’ - a bit of a shock given the numerous occasions where public outcry was rightly aimed at other international airlines in the past year.

In a time where brand trust and recognition has become crucial in many industry sectors, it seems crucial in order for a company to stand out among increasingly busy crowds that a visible effort to build this trust and reputation is consistent.

If we look at the list of top 20 business to business brands for 2017, as selected by a council of B2B marketing experts and 2,500 UK business professionals, we can see some interesting insights into what could be considered ‘trustworthy’ for British brands in 2017.

1) Financial companies make up one quarter of the list.

5 out of the top 20 companies in the 2017 B2B trusted brands list are in financial services; primarily in the field of payment processing rather than account management, with household names such as Mastercard, Visa and Paypal all making appearances.

But does this suggest that trust is placed in these brands above the thousands of others in hundreds of other sectors, or rather is this an indication that a high level of trust is literally placed into transaction handlers by definition, given the requirement for heightened security?

2) Tech firms highly trusted - including Samsung.

When the 2017 list was published, Samsung was still arguably in the midst of recovering from the damage suffered to trust in their brand on a consumer level following the exploding battery issues their Galaxy Note device very publicly struggled with - eventually leading to the product being pulled from shelves completely and millions of dollars being lost.

Despite Samsung’s struggles with trust in the consumer market, they remain something of a sure thing in B2B, sitting in 15th place above Intel. Apple, with its hold in the mobile phone market more than supplementing its presence in computing, was the top trusted tech brand this year at 2nd in the list - with rival Microsoft right behind in third.

3) Airlines under the spotlight?

The difference between consumer trust and business trust in certain sectors becomes obvious when it comes to air travel, and again this probably all comes down to how that sector is relied upon and the differences between the types of passengers using such services.

With a number of airlines, particularly in the United States, suffering from often self-inflicted poor publicity in recent times it seems odd that three of the top 20 most trusted B2B brands operate in aviation (British Airways in 1st, Virgin Atlantic 7th and Boeing 17th). But it’s worth noting that in this list we don’t see any mid-range or budget airlines, indicating that along with trust comes an expectation of better quality.

So it seems that unless you’re a Hilton or Bramwell’s JCB, UK industry mostly and unsurprisingly puts its trust into firms specialising in finance, technology and aviation. While some brands struggle to build, gain or even regain consumer trust, the same brands remain trusted by British industry experts for business services.

So what does it take to become a trusted brand in the UK? The obvious answer is to build a reputation for reliability, service and quality - to the point where British business as a whole relies on your products and services.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make the ‘Superbrands’ list. But it surely couldn’t do any harm to try...