In recent years, Edelman’s research has shown that as the role of brands in our lives and society has expanded, people’s expectations for brands have evolved. As always, brands must provide a reliable product and a rewarding customer experience. But now consumers have many more reasons to question how much they trust a brand. Will it protect their data and privacy? Use automation responsibly? Tell the truth in this era of disinformation? In short: Can consumers trust a brand do the right thing? 

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust?, an eight-country study, shows that the vast majority of consumers across markets, ages, incomes and gender say that brand trust is essential to buying. Consumers reveal that: 

  • A major consideration for brand purchase is now “I must be able to trust the brand to do what is right,” at 81 percent. 

  • More than 70 percent link purchase to considerations that historically were tied to trust in corporations, including supply chain, reputation, values, environmental impact and customer before profit. 

  • 53 percent of consumers agree that every brand has a responsibility to get involved in at least one social issue that does not directly impact its business.  


Despite consumers’ call for advocacy and brands to reflect their personal beliefs, brands are largely failing the trust test.  

  • Shockingly, just one-in-three respondents said that they trust most of the brands they buy and use. 

  • Only 21 percent say they know from personal experience that the brands they use keep the best interests of society in mind. 

  • 56 percent say that too many brands are using societal issues as a marketing ploy. 

  • Down five points from last year, only 41 percent now agree that brands have better ideas for solving problems than the government. 

Today’s most trusted — and rewarded — brands make a difference in consumers’ lives and in the society they care about. To earn the highest levels of consumer trust, brands must back up their brand promise with action. Consumers know that brands have the power to effect real change, and they will place their trust in brands that use that power on their behalf.