When I first moved to the US from the UK, grocery shopping at the West Lafayette, Indiana supermarket took forever. What took so long? No, it was not the slow pace of a small Indiana town. It was that I didn’t know any of the brands. So every selection from pasta sauce to laundry detergent to shampoo was a new decision. I had no relationship with the brands. No frame of reference to know which ones to trust. Every time we go to a grocery store or a drug store, we make a multitude of purchase decisions. Our brand relationships are a shortcut in that decision-making process, we select from a shortlist of brands that we trust. This means that household name Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands that have been around for decades often control mindshare and thus market share.   
Forrester’s new TRUE brand compass research proves this out. In February 2013, Forrester fielded the first in a series of quarterly Technographics® TRUE brand compass surveys that explore consumers’ attitudes about specific brands and how strongly they resonate with consumers. From this research we developed two new tools to help guide marketers on their brand building journey – to achieve the right balance of being trusted, remarkable, unmistakable and essential (TRUE):  
  1. The TRUE brand compass ranking gives a snapshot of a brand’s resonance. Is your brand a trail blazer – winning consumer mindshare, or astray – lost its way and it connection to consumers?  
  2. The TRUE brand compass scorecard reveals a brand’s progress along the four dimensions. Is your brand strong on being trusted? Weak on being essential? 
Our first survey focused on CPG categories of Food & Beverage and Health & Beauty. What did we learn?  We learnt that:
  • Trust, not buzz, is critical for building a CPG brand. While there’s a lot of focus on driving social water cooler chatter, brands must focus on earning consumer trust to build a strong, sustainable brand.
  • Old guard CPG brand are more trusted than upstart brands. Household name brands like Heinz, Kellogg’s, Coke, Crest, and Gillette are what we call TRUE brand leaders – brands that have "a very strong brand with a defined brand North Star and a consistent brand experience." But newer brands like vitaminwater struggle to resonate with consumers.  
  • Gatorade’s performance-based brand earns consumer trust. Gatorade proves its product delivers with scientific testing, earning it strong trust scores – and trail blazer status – with its core demographic of twenty-something men.  
  • Dove trounces other beauty brands. Dove’s ground breaking "Campaign for Real Beauty" has built a leading TRUE brand, more trusted by consumers than category mainstay Olay.  
Hungry for more?  
And keep a look out for upcoming research on financial services, retail, media, consumer electronics, healthcare and insurance.