Edelman's 2013 Trust Barometer
Date: 24 January 2013 17:04
I attended the UK launch of Edelman's Trust Barometer earlier this week. I've always found it strange that PR firms haven't tried harder to quantify the cost of reputation loss, or the cost of a loss of trust.
If a figure could be put on the cost of a lost reputation, it seems to me that the fees of PR firms, and indeed the salaries of in-house PR people, would justifiably increase overnight.
With that in mind, Edelman's Trust Barometer is an excellent longitudinal study that shows the geographical and sector differences in trust across the world. It doesn't show a link between a lack of trust or poor reputation and an outcome but to be fair to Edelman, they haven't designed it with my objective in mind!
Here are the highlights of the UK launch of the Trust Barometer:
By its nature, The Trust Barometer is an absolute data dump and feel free to have a look at the full book of slides from the Slideshare link at the bottom of this page. That said, here are are couple of insights that I thought worth highlighting:
- Worldwide trust in governments, the media, NGOs and business has increased by 6 per cent from 2012 to 2013.
- The barometer shows a 9 point contrast in trust between the general population (with a worldwide trust score of 48) and informed publics (with a Trust Index score of 57)
- Who do people trust? People tend to trust "a person like yourself" or a "regular employee" more than the CEO.
- People trust business and governments but they do not necessarily trust the people who represent them. For example, trust in business increased from 53 per cent to 58 per cent worldwide, but trust in business leaders only increasd marginally. Likewise, there is a 28 point gap between trust in governments and trust in government leaders.
- People trust small businesses much more than they trust big business.
Does this apparent increase in trust mean that PR people are doing a better job? Probably not. Although I'd suggest that PR and communications people have become more effective in their use of digital and social media in recent years. The more likely reason for the general increase in trust worldwide is that the near economic, political and business disasters of 2008 are slipping further into people's memory and are less front of mind.
Here is a Slideshare presentation of the Global Edelman's Trust Barometer results: