The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer has some interesting data for PR practitioners.
These are the top 10 insights from the report:
- Trust in Authorities is Eroding Worldwide. Trust in business, government, NGOs and the media all declined this year. Trust in media is now at an all time low.
- The Trust Gap Widens. The measure of trust between the well-informed public and the general population is getting further apart. This year it is at 15 points, a three-point increase from last year.
- The System is Broken. Globally, 53% feel that the system is no longer working. 38% are uncertain. They have no faith that their leaders will fix it.
- Fears and Concerns. Corruption tops this list globally at 69%. Next comes globalization (62%) followed by eroding social values (56%). Then comes immigration (55%) and the pace of innovation at 51%;
- A Failing System + Fears = Action. In countries where there was a loss of faith in the system and an increase in fears and concerns, there was populist action: France, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, the U.K., Australia and the U.S.
- The Rapidly Growing Media Echo Chamber. People are now four times more likely to ignore information that doesn’t fit their view of events. More than half (53%) don’t listen to others with whom they disagree. People are more likely to believe search engines (59%) than human editors (41%.)
- Peers are Highly Credible. For the first time “someone like me” is just as credible a source for information about a company as a technical or academic expert. (All three ranked at 60%.) Trust in CEO’s took a dive – down 12 points.
- Pace of Change in Business Adds to Fears. People are worried about losing their jobs due to not being able to keep up with technology The number one concern is the lack of skills and training. (60%) Then comes foreign competitors, immigrants who work for less and jobs moving to cheaper markets.
- The Need to Build Trust. The three most important attributes that will build trust in a company are: 1. Treating your employees well. 2. Offering high-quality products and services. 3. Listening to your customers.
- Business Needs a New Operating Mode. This trust crisis demands that businesses start by listening to all their stakeholder and engage in dialogue with them. The one-way communication model doesn’t work anymore. If you have not yet read The Cluetrain Manifesto now would be the time!
- Online sources and search engines are trusted more than traditional media. If you do not yet have SEO under your belt make it a priority.
- Make relationships with online media, bloggers and influencers.
- People regard peers (someone just like me) as credible spokespeople. Find the smart employees within your company and make them excellent spokespeople and advocates.
- Identify the communities that will respond to your brand values, products, services and social programs.
- Find advocates and influencers in those communities who can reach people within a certain ‘echo chamber’ and reach out to them.
- Provide them with content that resonates.
- Invest in training on digital skills for your team. Learn how to listen, analyze and engage your stakeholders.