These are the most trusted banking, mobile and insurance brands in South Africa

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The survey is conducted by the Reputation Institute (RI), and provides a specialised measurement of how stakeholders – the public, investors and employees – perceive major brands.

The survey measures key pillars that are essential for brands to gain the support and trust of consumers, and these include: Products and Services, Governance, Workplace, Citizenship, Leadership, Innovation and Performance.

South Africa’s overall score saw a drop in 2018, down 1.6 points to 64.5.

Across the 10 sectors covered (totalling 50 companies) only two sectors showed any growth, and it was marginal in both cases. The telecoms sector saw its score increase by 0.3 points year-on-year, while the industrial sector saw a gain of 0.2 points.

Among multinational companies, the overall score was down 0.5 points to 69.2, and among South African companies, the overall score was down 2.0 points to 62.9.

According to the RI, several factors played into the drop of reputation among South African companies in 2018.

Apart from company-specific things like shifts in how they deal with individuals and how individual expect to be dealt with, there were also macroeconomic factors at play, like fake news trends, ongoing cases of corruption, and sociopolitical debates.

Most reputable brands

According to the report, the retail sector is the most reputable in South Africa, with many of the leading brands coming from that industry.

Fast movie consumer goods brand Clover is the national leader, followed by Mr Price, Woolworths and Spar (all retail). Global beverages giant Coca Cola rounds out the top five.

However, state-owned companies have suffered major dents to their reputations following two years of scandal after scandal coming to the fore.

Eskom, which has been central to the ongoing state capture saga and many other cases of corruption, has dropped to the absolute bottom of the rankings of the 50 companies assessed.

This is below other SOEs who round out the bottom five, including South African Airways (46th), Transnet (47th), the SABC (48th) and the South African Post Office (49th).

The SOE sector has suffered the biggest blow, year on year, with the sector score dropping by 3.8 points, though all sectors did not have a good year, reputation-wise, the group said.

Banks, insurers and mobile operators

Among South Africa’s retail banks, FNB comes out at the top, ranked 16th overall – but it is followed closely by Capitec, which ranks 17th.

Nedbank is the third-most reputable (ranked 25th), followed by Standard Bank (32nd) and finally Absa (41st).

While it is not yet a full retail bank, Old Mutual ranks higher than the established retail banks (11th overall). The group does offer limited banking services, with plans to launch a banking account to compete with the likes of Capitec and African Bank.

As an insurer, however, Old Mutual is top of the pile, followed by Sanlam (13th), Discovery (14th), Liberty (18th) and Santam (29th).

Among mobile operators, Vodacom is the most trusted, ranked 24th overall. This is followed, by quite a margin, by MTN, Telkom and Cell C, who are ranked 42nd, 43rd and 44th, respectively.

BT Source