4 most trusted ASX companies (and the 4 least trusted)

It seems Australians have gained a new appreciation for life’s necessities after the COVID-19 pandemic. But as for Facebook? Urgh.

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trusted ASX brands represented by wooden blocks printed with words trust and brand

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The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have made Australians grateful for life’s basic necessities.

Supermarket giants Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) and Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) have been declared the country’s most trusted brands in the latest Roy Morgan rankings.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)’s Bunnings Warehouse came third, with stablemate Kmart not far behind as the seventh most trusted brand.

Privately owned Aldi made it a quinella for retailers, while Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) rounded out the top 5 in a year when it didn’t do much flying.

Top 10 most trusted brands in Australia
Rank  Brand
1 Woolworths
2 Coles
3 Bunnings
4 Aldi
5 Qantas
6 Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL)*
7 Kmart
8 ABC
9 Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT)*
10 Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR)*
* – new entry
Source: Roy Morgan; Table created by author

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine noted Coles’ rapid ascent in esteem.

“In May last year we reported that Coles was the fastest mover, lifting three rankings,” she said.

“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.”

Despite the banks putting on loan repayment freezes, for the first time no financial institutions made it into the top 10.

The most distrusted brands in Australia

Despite the coronavirus forcing Australians to spend more time at home and on their smartphones and computers, 3 technology companies were labelled the least trustworthy.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) would all feel a bit hard done by, considering the major roles they played in keeping everyone entertained and supplied during lockdowns.

The next 3 least trusted brands had more definitive reasons for their reputations.

Australians continued their love-hate relationship with News Corporation (ASX: NWS) as they distrusted its tabloid journalism but still bought its subscriptions and newspapers in massive numbers.

Coming in at fifth place was AMP Ltd (ASX: AMP) whose share price plunged during the Royal Commission and kept sinking last year through some sexual harassment scandals.

Rounding out the top 6 was Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO), which blew up the historically significant Juukan Gorge site in Western Australia last May.

“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,” said Levine.

“It’s clear, then, that distrust should be on the risk register of every publicly listed company in Australia.”

Top 10 most distrusted brands in Australia
Rank Brand
1 Facebook
2 Telstra
3 Amazon*
4 News Corporation
5 AMP
6 Rio Tinto*
7 Huawei*
8 Google
9 BP plc (LON: BP)*
10 Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)
* – new entry
Source: Roy Morgan; Table created by author

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Tony Yoo owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, and Qantas Airways Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET, Wesfarmers Limited, and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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