Source: Roy Morgan.

During the depths of the COVID pandemic, who did Australians trust the most? And more importantly, who did they distrust?

Roy Morgan data scientists analysed nominations from more than 10,000 Australians to identify the nation’s 10 most trusted brands, and 10 most distrusted brands.

The Roy Morgan Risk Report: COVID Issue reveals that the winners list is dominated by supermarkets, perhaps unsurprisingly given their essential role during the COVID health crisis.

For the first time the two major supermarket brands, Woolworths and Coles, took top spots on the list of most trusted brands in the country, pushing Bunnings and ALDI down to third and fourth.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, Coles continues its rapid rise up the trust league ladder, “In May last year we reported that Coles was the fastest mover, lifting three rankings. During the depths of COVID, our data collected between April and September 2020 reveals that Coles jumped another two rankings to be neck and neck with Woolworths in the top two positions.”

Given a reliance on technology during COVID lockdown it is also unsurprising that for the first time Apple and Microsoft entered the top-10 most trusted list.

For the first time there were no banks or financial institutions in the top-10 trusted list.

The Roy Morgan Risk Report: COVID Issue also reveals the top-10 list of Australia’s most distrusted brands highlighting the impact of Rio Tinto’s decision to destroy the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge indigenous heritage site, with the mining company leaping into the top-10 – ranking as more distrusted than Huawei and Google.

NAB was a big improver on the distrust ladder dropping well out of the top-10 most distrusted brands.

What does this data tell us about 2021? Ms Levine says, “Distrust remains the number one risk factor for the nation’s companies because it is the toxic element in brand equity: trust is a brand asset while distrust is a brand liability.

“It’s clear, then, that distrust should be on the risk register of every publicly listed company in Australia. Why isn’t it? Because until Roy Morgan’s data scientists identified the toxic nature of distrust, no-one was measuring it.

“After more than 30 waves of research, Roy Morgan continues to measure and track distrust as well as trust, publishing key results in the Roy Morgan Risk Report providing essential risk metrics to corporate leaders who understand the corrosive threat that distrust represents.”