Bredin Report: Who is the Most Trusted SMB Brand?

We just finished fielding an SMB Pulse survey of 500 principals of U.S. companies with up to 500 employees. One of the most interesting questions we asked is how much trust SMBs have in leading brands, not only to see how brands rate but to see how brand trust changes over time.

And the winner is: Visa, the most trusted of the 49 SMB brands we surveyed. Like Mastercard, which came in a very close second, and American Express (eighth), Visa is new to our brand survey this month. These three strong financial services brands are not only very familiar ways for SMBs to buy and sell products and services for their businesses, but they all provide a wide range of support for SMBs.

PayPal, the third-most trusted brand, saw a big jump in trust in just six months. PayPal moved from 75% “trust very much” plus “trust somewhat” in May to 87% in November, moving it ahead of Microsoft. While some of this movement may be normal sampling variation (the margin of error in our sample is +/- four percentage points), it may also reflect growing familiarity as SMBs have increasingly used PayPal for their businesses – or have used it personally.

Like PayPal – in fact like all of the ten most trusted SMB brands that we also measured in May – Microsoft’s trust score increased over the summer, in this case by four points. The increase in overall trust could be a byproduct of SMBs’ general increased sense of optimism since May (76% expect to grow in 2021 now, versus the 61% who expected to grow in 2021 when asked in May). When SMBs feel more confident, they tend to feel more positive about brands.

Adobe also saw strong growth in SMB trust, moving from 73% top-two box in May to 82% now. That moved it up two places from May, displacing Dell and Google. Zoom and Apple swapped places, as continued remote and hybrid work drove increased usage of videoconferencing services and familiarity with Zoom.

The 10 most trusted SMB brands

Please rate how much you trust each of these brands. N=500

See all 49 surveyed brands here

What makes a trusted brand?

Trust is a critical important factor in encouraging customers to choose your offering over your competitors. SMB buyers are more likely to trust brands that they feel understand and will respond to their needs.

In our research, peer referrals, case studies and positive ratings and reviews are hugely important to developing brand trust. Assessing the user experience and satisfaction with your products or services is essential to understanding how well your brand experience generates trust and positive reviews.

Thought leadership content that is educational, not merely self-promotional, also goes a long way towards building brand trust. For example, a robust resource center with actionable content signals your focus on helping your customers succeed. Survey-based content shows that you understand SMB needs, and industry-specific or interactive content such as a calculator or configurator demonstrates your relevance. Effective content offers useful ideas and solutions that address your customers’ concerns and pain points.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can help you understand your brand perception and customer satisfaction through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, trust, leads, conversion and revenue.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.