(File photo)

The University of Victoria has released its annual report on the most trusted brands in Canada, which reveals who you as a consumer trust most.

The report reveals good news for the outdoor adventurers and world travelers of the Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) after the company took a plunge over the past few years.

MEC has made a remarkable comeback after a drastic decline in customer loyalty following their decision to sell their assets to an American company in 2020.

In the 2023 Gustavson Brand Trust report, they received a ranking score of number one overall for the Apparel and Footwear category — a rank derived from factors such as brand authenticity, treatment of employees, trust performance, and more. 

(Gustavson Brand Trust Index)

This is a drastic improvement from their 2022 trust performance, which was determined as an eight overall.

As previously stated, this was due to a downturn in customer loyalty after MEC was purchased by a US private equity firm, Kingswood Capital Management Ltd. in 2020.

A large portion of MEC’s members were dismayed and trust in their commitment to their original mission and values dropped.

They were going to have to work harder than ever to regain their customers’ loyalty and reframe their approach in addressing the switch of ownership. 

“Recognizing the need for change, MEC placed emphasis on fostering a culture of accountability and open communication,” the Gustavson Brand Trust report reads.

“To showcase its commitment to transparency, MEC unveiled an open book policy, sharing detailed information about their operations, sourcing, and environmental initiatives.”

They still have a ways to go, but their dedication to providing transparency and reevaluating key elements of their business, such as suppliers, quality, and environmental sustainability has re-captured some of those broken hearts.  

(Gustavson Brand Trust Index)

MEC tied with Costco this year — with Costco taking the lead for most trusted grocery brand in Canada for their “commitment to value-driven offerings and counteracting inflation” as food prices rise. 

Another significant shift from Costco’s rating last year, which was marked at three.

Other notable first-place brands include Kicking Horse Coffee in the Coffee/Tea category, Toyota in the Automotive category, and Alexander Keith’s in the Alcohol category. 

(Gustavson Brand Trust Index)

A drop in brand trust occurred for brands such as Twitter after Elon Musk’s purchase, CTV after the letting go of Lisa LaFlamme in hopes of attracting more young viewers, and Airbnb — which dropped four places on the Brand Trust sliding scale. 

The 2023 Gustavson Brand Trust report featured 406 national and global brands across 33 categories. The survey was conducted between January and April 25th, 2023, surveying over 13,000 Canadian adult consumers over the age of18.

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