Authentic 100

Amazon and PayPal top Cohn & Wolfe’s list of the most authentic brands in the U.S. in its just-released 2017 Authentic Brands study.

Burt’s Bees, Crayola, M&Ms, Lego, Hershey’s, Newman’s Own, AAA and UPS round out the list.

Though respondents named the brands they judged to be most authentic, there’s a growing streak of cynicism about companies and brands in general.

Only one in five said brands “stay true to their purpose,” with just 16 percent finding brands to be “open and honest.” That number, a seven percent decrease from last year’s study, makes the U.S. the only country of the 15 surveyed to show a decrease in the perception of brand authenticity.

The value of authenticity, however, appears to be growing. Worldwide, 91 percent of consumers indicated they are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity via purchase, investment, endorsement or similar action. In the U.S., 62 percent of respondents said they would either purchase or express increased purchase interest in a brand they view as authentic.

U.S. consumers agreed with those in other countries in what they saw as the key driver of brand authenticity. “Respectful” rated as being the most crucial key driver of brand authenticity in 2017, topping last year’s “Reliable.”

The Authentic Brands study, which C&W has conducted since 2012, examines the role of authenticity in business, the attributes associated with an authentic brand and the impact of authenticity on consumer, investor and employee attitudes and behaviors both globally and regionally. Conducted in May and June, this year’s study surveyed over 15,000 consumers, and included more than 1,400 brands.

The complete US Top 50 Index can be viewed at