trust and transparency

More ‘Trust’ in Shampoo Brands than in Media Finds Brand Keys Brand Trust Survey

For the past five years the survey has identified the contribution that the single value – “trust” – makes to program engagement and positive viewership behavior toward TV news brands.

Issues of trust are central to all human social, consumer, and political activity. But there’s a particular urgency when it comes to news media. Virtually every recent poll has indicated trust in news media has fallen to historical lows. The 11th wave of the Media Trust Tracking survey, conducted for MediaPost by Brand Keys, has confirmed a literal media-trust nosedive.

Trust is Central to Consumer Behavior

“Because trust is central to consumer behavior and brand profitability,” noted Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys (, the New York-based brand loyalty and emotional engagement research consultancy that conducts the bi-annual survey, “We were curious to see precisely where News Media and TV News brands rated when it comes to the value of ‘trust.’”

The current wave of research, fielded in July 2022, in addition to news viewership evaluations, included a rating of 21 consumer categories on a scale of Trust A Great Deal (percentages next to each sector below) to Do Not Trust At All. “News media brands are in a lot of trouble when consumers trust their personal care brands three times more than their news media choices, and trust 19 sectors more than media,” said Passikoff.

Results for Category Brand Trust levels were as follows:

1. Technology (40%)

2. Entertainment (39%)

3. Telcom (37%)

4. Luxury Goods (36%)

5. Pharma (35%)

6. Healthcare (34%)

7. Shipping (32%)

8. Apparel (31%)

9. Beauty/Personal Care (30%)

10. Food & Beverage (29%)

11. Automotive ((28%)

12. Retail (26%)

13. Consumer Goods (25%)

14. Travel & Hospitality (22%)

15. Sports (20%)

16. Financial (16%)

17. Energy [Oil & Gas] (15%)

18. Advertising (13%)

19. Government (11%)

20. News Media (10%)

21. Social Media (8%)

News Media doesn’t fare well generally, with TV News ranking third (with only 6% Trust A Great Deal rating), after Radio (14%) and Newspapers (11%). All the TV News brands saw drops in viewer trust with virtually no differences among the TV brands by gender or political persuasion.

For the past five years the survey has identified the contribution that the single value – “trust” – makes to program engagement and positive viewership behavior toward TV news brands. Using Brand Keys’ independently-validated emotional engagement analysis, 6,850 wave-11 respondents (balanced for gender and political affiliation, drawn from the nine U.S. Census Regions) rated TV news brands they watch regularly, 3+ times a week, with the following results:

2/22 8/22

BBC 87% 83%

FOX News 89% 85%

PBS 86% 84%

Bloomberg 80% 80%

MSNBC 89% 86%

CBS 83% 81%

NBC 85% 82%

ABC 86% 82%

CNN 87% 85%

OAN 88% 83%

Newsmax 87% 85%

Media choice has always been related to several factors when it comes to TV news. Political affiliation has always been a determinant, and more so recently. “Judgments regarding how well a news brand meets a viewer’s expectations are pre-determined and governed by personal political bias,” noted Passikoff, “But these ratings would suggest that when it comes to ‘trust,’ TV news is looking more-and-more like a commodity!”


Brand Keys employs an independently-validated psychological inquiry and higher-order statistical analyses to fuse emotional and rational aspects of consumer attitudes toward brand categories. This identifies category behavioral drivers as well as the values (including “trust” as characterized in a particular category) that form the components of each driver, their percent-contribution to engagement, positive behavior, and loyalty to a brand. The approach has a test/re-test reliability of 0.93. It produces results generalizable at the 95% confidence level and has been used in B2B, B2C, and D2C categories – including media – in 35 countries.

  1. MediaPost and Brand Keys are great sources of insight into where the customer is. We have come a long way from Ben Franklin, and Freedom of the Press. We now live in a society where public figures attack media with the “fake news” club. We have foreign governments polluting our social media platforms with misinformation. So a pillar of our culture has been soiled, but….these findings lay out the challenge we all have to attract viewers, readers and customers: do all possible to build Trust.

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