Canadians love their coffee and doughnuts – so much so that they have dubbed Tim Hortons the most trusted brand in the country.
That's according to the Most Trusted Brand survey released by data intelligence firm Morning Consult. The report, based on a survey of 4,768 Canadians between March 3 and April 3, found that net trust among Canadian adults for Tim Hortons surpassed the trust levels for other brands, including McDonald's and Starbucks.
Morning Consult says that the number of Tim Hortons locations across the country – more than 3,900 as of May 2022 – played a factor in propelling the brand to be the most trusted in the country.
"But what really sets Tim Hortons apart from competitors is Canadians' national pride for the brand," the report said.
"Even as the brand expands beyond Canada's borders, it remains strongly associated with the country."
Tim Hortons' recent marketing campaigns – particularly its collaboration with pop star Justin Bieber – may have also contributed to the brand's widespread popularity across all age groups, Morning Consult says. The Bieber partnership, which was first unveiled last November and relaunched with a new "Biebs Brew" drink in June, has been wildly successful for Tim Hortons. It has helped boost sales, drive traffic and over-indexed with a younger cohort, according to data from the company's loyalty program.
Morning Consult says that Tim Hortons had the highest trust ranking among Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z adults, beating Starbucks and McDonald's in each age category.
"The chain enjoys strong net trust across generations, likely aided by recent marketing that features Ontario-born Justin Bieber promoting the chain's famous Timbits," the company said.
Privacy breach has yet to hurt brand trust
However, the survey was conducted before federal and provincial privacy commissioners released the results of an investigation that found the Tim Hortons' mobile app tracked and recorded users' movements, resulting in "a mass invasion of Canadians' privacy" that violated Canadian laws. The investigation concluded that while Tim Hortons asked its millions of mobile app users for permission to access geolocation data, the coffee and doughnut chain misled them into thinking the information would only be used when the app was open.
Emily Moquin, managing director of food and beverage analysis at Morning Consult, says in an interview that so far, consumer sentiment towards Tim Hortons has not been swayed by the privacy breach investigation.
"We have not seen a drop in trust so far," Moquin said.
"They do have this brand strength that I think is helping them weather this news. We're not ready to declare that there won't be an impact on overall brand trust, but so far we have not really seen anything major in terms of that trust dropping down."
Food and beverage companies were among the most trusted for Canadians, a second survey by Morning Consult found, with 71 per cent of respondents saying they trust those brands "a lot" or "some." Food and beverage companies were only surpassed by small businesses when it came to trust levels among Canadians. At the other end of the survey were social media companies (32 per cent), followed by company CEOs (35 per cent) and major global corporations (40 per cent).
The second survey by Morning Consult, which polled 1,000 respondents across the country, also found that Canadians were the most likely to boycott brands out of the 10 countries surveyed, with 46 per cent of respondents saying they will never use a company again if it loses their trust.
Moquin says the key for companies to hold onto brand trust is to provide value and deliver consistent products and services.
"Good value for price is probably a factor of our times and the economic pressures that consumers are feeling right now," she said.
"But feeling like you are getting good value from a brand, and high quality, consistent delivery on promise, is going to be how you keep consumers happy."
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.