By Adam Fraser
The Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 has been released by global PR leader Edelman. This annual report based on 33,000 surveys across 28 countries (now in its 17th year) is is a comprehensive survey of consumer attitudes to trust in government, business, not for profits and media.
The survey rightly garners significant attention as a credible, authoritative piece of thought leadership, and this year’s survey delivered some stark conclusions.
The intro to the report tells the story:
“The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust is in crisis around the world. The general population’s trust in all four key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — has declined broadly, a phenomenon not reported since Edelman began tracking trust among this segment in 2012.”
Trust in crisis – heavy words; 2017 appears to have represented something of a tipping point for consumers as their trust in institutions of all kinds declines to crisis levels. This is the backdrop in which Brexit, the US election and the increased prominence of fake news took place.
Some of the key findings were:
- 2/3 of countries fell into ‘distruster’ territory with trust levels below 50%
- Only 37% of the population say CEOs are credible with 29% saying the same about government officials
- Media declined the most being distrusted in 82% of countries
- 85% of respondents lack full belief in the system
- 64% of the population find leaked information more credible than press releases
Perhaps explaining some of the underlying drivers, the survey also showed
- 53% believe the pace of change is too fast
- 50% believe globalisation is taking ys in the wrong direction
The report delivered plenty more insights showing just how bad the level of consumer trust in institutions is today.
Some tough messages for the media and marketing sectors alike.
Yet from this ‘scorched earth’ backdrop of consumer trust, opportunity beckons. Brands and publishers alike have the opportunity to consistently deliver on promises and build trust with an audience yearning trustworthy content and business actions.
For marketers the message is clear – tone down the advertising BS consumers are weary of, deliver on brand promises, stand for something beyond making money and listen to your customers (as well as giving them an opportunity to ask questions and provide input). It’s clearly time to change the game.