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MEC, Costco are most trusted brands in Canada: UVic survey

Researchers surveyed more than 13,000 people earlier this year
MEC signs don the corner of a building at East Second Avenue and Quebec Street in Vancouver | Chung Chow

Mountain Equipment Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq:COST) are the most trusted brands in Canada, according to a new survey.

The University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business contracted the Sage Group to survey 13,188 Canadians between Jan. 10 and April 25 to determine which of 407 brands exuded the most comfort for them.

While MEC and Costco wound up tied as the most trusted brands in Canada, the next most trusted brands were:
• Columbia Sport;
• Canadian Automobile Association (CAA/BCAA/AMA);
• Toyota; and
• Dyson.

After those brands, Lego, Band-Aid and Dove were tied as the seventh most trusted brands.

The survey broke the concept of brand trust into five dimensions:
• Brand Trust overall: consumer perceptions of whether the brand is trustworthy and acts with integrity;
• Brand Authenticity (Values-based trust): consumer perceptions of the brand’s social responsibility;
• Brand Ability (Functional trust): consumer perceptions on how well the brand performs its core functions;
• Brand Affinity (Relationship trust): consumer perceptions on how the brand interacts with its consumers; and
• Advocacy (Word of mouth): the extent to which consumers recommend the brand to others.

The survey also broke out trusted brands by region, with B.C. and Alberta forming one region.

MEC and Costco were tied in the B.C. and Alberta region much like they were nationally.

“The two brands’ commitment to value-driven offerings, customer service and competitive pricing has resonated with consumers searching for affordability in the face of inflation”, said Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria.

MEC has not been immune to controversy, however.

Earlier this month, Amir Ghassemzadehnaghedhi reported an incident at MEC to the Vancouver Police Department, alleging that when he tried to return what he deemed to be a defective cooler, a MEC loss-prevention officer roughed him up, put him in a headlock and stuck a finger under his jaw.

Police are investigating and Ghassemzadehnaghedhi told media that he was considering suing the company.

MEC’s CEO Eric Claus released a statement backing up his staff’s actions, though saying that the loss-prevention officer employed by a third-party company would no longer be allowed to work at any MEC stores.

The third most trusted brand in the B.C. and Alberta region was IKEA, followed by Tylenol.

The survey broke down which brands were most trusted within a wide range of categories.

Alexander Keith’s, for example, was the most trusted alcohol brand.

Some other most trusted brands in product categories included:
• Petro-Canada (gas stations);
• Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts (hotels);
• A&W (restaurants/take-out); and
• Telus (telecoms).

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