Through the looking glass: the factors that influence consumer trust and distrust in brands

Mal, Carmen Iuliana; Davies, Gary and Diers-Lawson, Audra (2018). Through the looking glass: the factors that influence consumer trust and distrust in brands. Psychology & Marketing, 35(12) pp. 936–947.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21146

Abstract

This study aims to identify the factors responsible for creating brand trust and brand distrust among consumers. It uses a grounded theory approach to guide the conduct and analysis of 20 semistructured interviews that yielded 120 descriptions of consumer‐brand interactions. The 3‐stage model that emerged shows a process whereby consumers prioritize product/service quality information and subsequently consider how the company behind the brand behaves toward consumers in the name of the brand, specifically behaviors signalling its integrity and benevolence. Finally, consumers consider characteristics of the company behind the brand (e.g., its financial status) and how it behaves in its own name toward other stakeholder groups (e.g., employees). The process for distrust mirrors that for trust, implying that the two are polar opposites. The data also show that trust and distrust in a brand can coexist but within separate domains.

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