Most distrusted brands revealed – and those that you have faith in

Optus has been named Australia’s most distrusted brand following a horror 12 months for the company after its high-profile data breach, research has revealed.

A Roy Morgan survey puts Optus at the top the list of most distrusted brands. It follows a rough year for the telecommunications giant after a security breach led to the personal details of at least 10 million customers being offered for sale on the dark web.

While the data breach itself was a significant blow to Optus’s credibility, the perceived mishandling of the situation exacerbated the fallout further. In response to the scandal, Optus initially downplayed the incident and provided inaccurate information regarding the hack to home affairs minister Clare O’Neil, sparking a very public argument.

Second place in the distrust stakes went to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, followed by telecommunications giant Telstra, Rupert Murdoch’s media juggernaut News Corp and global retailer Amazon.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says once a brand suffers a major scandal that breaches the public’s trust, it can be very, very difficult to shift that perception.

She says regaining trust after a major event can take a very long time, and while distrust often peaks immediately after such an event, the levels can remain elevated for months or years afterwards.

“Distrust makes a brand fragile and is a powerful driver in the decisions that consumers make,” Ms Levine says.

“Brands need to be aware of the ongoing dangers that distrust presents, with lingering distrust a significant risk.”

It seems the adage, ‘It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but a minute to lose it’, still rings true.

With Optus and Telstra ranked so highly in distrust, the telecommunications industry as a whole was ranked the least trusted industry.

Filling out the top 10 most distrusted brands in Australia were health insurer Medibank, which suffered its own high-profile data breach; furniture and electrical retailer Harvey Norman; Chinese social media giant TikTok; food company Nestle, and X, formally known as Twitter, after owner Elon Musk’s controversial rebranding of the company.

Outside the top 10 most distrusted brands, Qantas’s reputation continues to slide. The airline is now the 13th most distrusted brand and, for the first time, is the most distrusted airline, surpassing its own budget airline, Jetstar, in 16th position.

Who can you trust?

The Roy Morgan research found that supermarkets tend to dominate the most trusted brand rankings. For instance, Woolworths and Coles hold the number one and two spots respectively, with Aldi in fourth spot.

Outside supermarkets, Australians seem to place the most trust in other big box retailers, with Bunnings (third), Kmart (fifth), Big W (seventh) and Myer (eight) all featuring in the top 10 most trusted brands.

Which brands do you trust the most? Are there any you explicitly don’t trust? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Are home brands healthy? You may be surprised …

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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