Backgrounder: Gustavson Brand Trust Index

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

The Gustavson Brand Trust Index (GBTI) measures Canadian consumers’ opinions about 294 corporate and product brands across 26 categories.

The GBTI evaluates responses by 6,560 Canadian consumers to assess consumer levels of brand trust and what causes them to recommend a brand to their friends and family. The team behind the GBTI found that Canadian consumers closely link brand trust with consumer advocacy. The responses are indexed to provide rankings for the brands nationally, by category, gender, age, region and income.

Gustavson Brand Trust Model
The brand trust survey instrument measures different dimensions of trust that influence whether consumers recommend a brand to their networks:
•    Brand trust overall– consumer perceptions of whether the brand is trustworthy and acts with integrity
•    Values-based trust – consumer perceptions on the brand’s social responsibility
•    Functional trust – consumer perceptions on how well the brand’s product performs or functions
•    Relationship trust – consumer perception on how the brand interacts with its customers
•    Word of mouth – whether consumers recommend the brand to others

Canada’s Top 10 Most Trusted Brands for 2017 (Rank in 2016):
1.    MEC (1)
2.    CAA (New to the survey)
3.    Costco Wholesale (3)
4.    Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (8)
5.    IKEA (22)
6.    Chapters/Indigo (59)
7.    President’s Choice (1)
8.    Interac (11)
9.    Cirque du Soleil (New to the survey)
10.    WestJet (54)

Insights from the 2017 Gustavson Brand Trust Index
•    The majority of brands were perceived positively (only two brands received a negative score)
•    Brand trust increases with age
•    Brand trust decreases as income of a consumer increases
•    Female consumers are more trusting then their male counterparts
•    Values-based trust is becoming a more important driver of overall brand trust.

Winners of Consumers Trust by Industry Sector



Automobile Rental

Enterprise Rent-A-Car


Alexander Keith’s

Cars, Motorcycles & Parts

Tesla Motors


Kicking Horse

Confectionery/Snack Foods




Delivery Services


Electronics & AV Equipment


Financial Services


Food & Drug Retailers


Gas Stations



Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

Household Care



Blue Cross

Media & Entertainment

Cirque du Soleil

Packaged Foods

President’s Choice

Personal & Beauty Care



Tim Hortons

Retailers (Other)


Soft drinks/juices/waters

Canada Dry


Columbia Sportswear









The Gustavson Brand Trust Index team leaders

Saul Klein, Dean and Lansdowne Professor of International Business, Gustavson School of Business
Saul Klein has had a broad-ranging career spanning developing, developed and transition countries. He specializes in the areas of marketing strategy, global business and international marketing. His research focuses on the global competitiveness of emerging market firms and he has provided consulting assistance to over 50 different organizations in these areas in Canada, the USA, Singapore and South Africa. He has also led strategic planning workshops for a variety of organization in different sectors. Klein serves on the boards of the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (Canada), the Mediterranean Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation (Tunisia) and on the International Advisory Committees of UIBE and Beijing Jiaotong Universities (China).

David Dunne, Professor, International Marketing and Service Innovation, Gustavson School of Business
David Dunne joined the Gustavson School of Business in 2014. His research explores how designers apply in-depth user research and creative thinking methods to “wicked problems,” critical, chronic problems in society and business with no clear start or end point, such as problems in the health care system. His research has been published in business and design journals, including Harvard Business Review and Academy of Management Learning & Education. He has held appointments at design schools in the Netherlands, the US and Mexico. Dunne teaches design, strategy and marketing to students and executives worldwide. His recent executive teaching/consulting clients include AstraZeneca, Corus Entertainment, GlaxoSmithKline, Mt Sinai Hospital and Ontario Local Health Integration Networks.

Linda Shi, Associate Professor, Gustavson School of Business
Linda Shi teaches marketing and international business. Her research interests include global marketing strategy, China marketing, customer relationship management, global account management, service recovery and customer satisfaction. Shi has published her research in numerous scholarly journals including: Journal of International Business Studies, Management International Review, Journal of International Marketing, and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, among others. Shi previously worked for Proctor & Gamble’s China headquarters and was responsible for several key projects regarding inventory reduction, supplier and customer management, and cost accounting process optimization.

About The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria is dedicated to providing a non-traditional business education and a dynamic learning environment that develops principled managers and leaders who can drive innovation and social change. Located in Victoria, BC at the University of Victoria, Gustavson is among the fewer than one per cent of the world's business schools that hold both AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) accreditation. The Gustavson School of Business offers BCom, MBA, MGB and PhD programs, has 95 international exchange partners, and celebrated its 25th birthday in 2015. For more information, visit:

For more information on the Gustavson Brand Trust Index, see:

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Keywords: business, brands, marketing

People: Saul Klein

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