Edelman’s Trust Barometer has evolved into a study of international acclaim, which analyses the state of trust in companies, governments and NGOs internationally. The study has turned into a reference point in the field. More than 30,000 people were interviewed for this year’s issue, including members of general public and informed public from 27 different markets. Corporate Excellence carefully tracks Trust Barometer results because we think it is important to understand the dynamics of the world if we want to successfully navigate it and be sustainable in the long term.
In its 15th edition, the results presented by Edelman show that trust across all institutions have reached the lows of the Great Recession in 2009. These results underscore that, in order to ensure the continuity of a company, managers responsible for intangible assets need to take the demands and expectations of their key stakeholders into account.
The spread of Ebola in Western Africa, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines 370 plus many other important events have shaken confidence in some institutions. Government is still the least trusted institution while NGOs maintained their status as the most trusted institution even though it is fading in the U.K. and China.
Consumers also want stronger regulations of business (46 percent), yet across major industries surveyed, only half trust policy makers to develop appropriate regulations. Trust has a tangible impact in business outcomes and because of that, companies should take into account how they present themselves to their stakeholders. A majority of respondents (81 percent) believe a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents refuse to buy products and services from a company they do not trust, while 58 percent will criticize them to a friend or colleague. Conversely, 80 percent chose to buy products from companies they trusted, with 68 percent recommending those companies to a friend. It is important for us, to stand out that, regarding this issue, Spanish companies gain trust in 2015.
Traditional media is distrusted by 60 percent of countries and online search engines are becoming a more trusted source for general news and information.
For the first time, the Barometer looked at trust and its link to innovation and found that surprisingly not all technological advancements generate trust.
A majority of respondents believe innovation is happening too quickly and that it is being driven by greed (54 percent) and business growth imperatives (66 percent) although more than half (55 percent) feel business is not doing enough testing on new developments. Only some (24 percent) thinks that innovation has a positive impact in the society.
Besides, trust levels vary based on the type of innovation. Trust is higher in developments in the technology, financial services and health industries while innovations introduced in the energy and food sectors are viewed with far more scepticism. Trust in a particular industry sector does not assure confidence in that industry’s particular innovation. For example, the food and beverage sector is one of the most trusted (67 percent), yet only 35 percent are confident it can develop and implement genetically modified foods.
Here is a video explaining the main results of this year: