Emergency services staff are among the most trusted professionals in Britain, according to recent research.

In a poll of over 7,000 people, we found that one in three consider the emergency services to be the most trustworthy sector. Charitable organisations were found to be the second most trusted group, securing 14 percent of the vote, while a surprising one in twelve respondents said they placed the most trust in supermarkets. 

In contrast, local councils didn’t even make the top ten – with a meagre 2.8 percent of voters ranking them most trustworthy. Most surprisingly, trust in banks and solicitors was found to be comparatively high, each taking 5.9 percent of the vote.

Richard Walker, Director at Mustard, commented:“These results are really interesting and highlight the importance of brand alignment strategies that build rapport with companies’ customer bases. Clearly, alarm bells should be ringing in the sectors that came bottom of the poll – businesses will suffer if they can’t engender the confidence of their audiences. Examining the reasons behind this erosion of trust is a necessary first step in rectifying the problem.”

“We would have expected to see trust in banks and other financial institutions significantly weakened following the global financial crisis, so it’s a surprise to note that, in the 20 sectors we polled, banks ranked the fifth most trusted industry overall.”

“These results indicate that trust is yet to be quantified as a key corporate value, despite the fact that it has been found to be a significant determinant of consumer loyalty. As long as this disconnect remains, marketers are going to see a significant downturn in brand loyalty and consumer satisfaction.”

“While it’s fairly clear that the drivers of trust vary from industry to industry, what is becoming more obvious is that they also differ significantly from company to company within each sector. What drives trust from customers of one brand may be very different to the values that are needed to build trust in another – even if both businesses belong to the same industry.”

“For brands looking to establish a connection with their customer base, market research data can prove invaluable in identifying what makes their audience tick and how their business can better meet consumers’ needs.”

The Top 10 most trusted sectors were as follows:

1. Emergency services (31.1%)

2. Charities (14.1%)

3. Supermarkets (8.8%)

4. Universities (8.1%)

5. Banks / Building Societies (5.9%)

6. Solicitors / Lawyers (5.9%)

7. Airlines (4.3%)

8. Local tradespeople (3.2%)

9. Pharmaceuticals (3.1%)

10. Car manufacturers (2.9%)

For more information on how market research and customer insight can be used to better understand drivers of trust, call Richard Walker or email at richard.walker@mustard-research.com