The upheaval of the pandemic meant everything we thought we knew was thrown into disarray – and that includes the brands we welcome into our lives on a daily basis.
When it comes to the companies that Australians felt had their backs during the depths of COVID-19 – April to September 2020 – it was our big two supermarkets that came out on top.
Woolworths slightly edged out Coles as Australia’s most-trusted brand, according to research by Roy Morgan.
As for the ones we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them? Social media megabeast Facebook came in as undesirable number one.
That was followed by Telstra – which kind of fell on the sword of its own tagline (You don’t need Australia’s best network … until you do).
Jeff Bezos’ baby, Amazon, also entered the top 10 most distrusted brands, debuting at number three, potentially as backlash to its less-than-noble moves during the pandemic.
Rio Tinto also fell afoul of its own decisions, premiering at number 6 in the distrusted top 10, a direct result of its destruction of 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge indigenous heritage site.
But back to the happy list.
Coles made an extraordinary comeback during the year, Roy Morgan CEO Michelle Levine said.
“In May last year we reported that Coles was the fastest mover, lifting three rankings,” Ms Levine said in releasing the poll results on Wednesday.
“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.”
When The New Daily spoke to University of Tasmania senior marketing lecturer Louise Grimmer last year about this very same poll, Dr Grimmer said it was less about the companies’ performance and more about their individual employees.
“I think consumers really appreciated the way that retail workers turned up for work every day, even during the height of the pandemic – and remember these are amongst the lowest-paid workers in the country,” Dr Grimmer told us in May last year.
Ms Levine also noted that no financial institutions made it to the good list, for the first time in, well, ever.
NAB did manage to nudge its way out of the naughty list, while Huawei and BP made their first appearances.
Stalwarts NewsCorp (4th), AMP (5th) Google (8th) and Westpac (10th) finished off the top 10.
Myer (10th), Microsoft (9th) and Apple (6th) were the other new entries to the top 10 trusted list.