Earlier today Edelman, the global PR form, launched the results of it’s 2012 Trust Barometer. According to Edelman:
“This year’s survey is bigger than ever before, with 30,000 people questioned in 25 countries. The Barometer reveals the state of Trust in business and institutions.”
I’ve written about this survey before in Your Internal Brand is One of Your Most Important Marketing Tools and refer to Edelman’s survey results in my eBooks (You can check them out for free here and here).
However, reading through the survey results today there were three things that jumped out at me and have implications for building customer and employee engagement:
- Skepticism is rife and trust is not easily won. The majority of people need to see something 5 or 6 time before they start to believe and trust in it. Therefore, the need for consistency of message, to keep showing up with the same message and via a number of sources is key to building trust
- People trust people like them. The survey shows that, whilst academics and company technical experts continue to be broadly trusted, people are more likely to trust ‘People like them’ than the CEO. Given the flow of trust away from the boardroom businesses should work with their teams to give them the freedom, ability and tools to reach out, speak with and engage their customers. Doing this just might prove to be less controlling and more engaging for them too.
- Many business are failing to meet changing expectations. When asked what elements are important to building trust – listening to customers, high quality products or services, treating employees well and customers ahead of profits – topped the poll as being important to business. However, the survey results also show that the general population, whilst considering these things as important, say that most businesses are failing to meet their expectations and need to work harder. For many companies this will mean one of two things: 1. They need to start really doing what they say they are going to do and making sure their customers understand what they are doing; and 2. They need to start talking to customers to get a better understanding of their expectations and how they can meet them. Because if they don’t then someone else will.
Note: Whilst these are the results from the Global survey, I looked at the UK-specific results too and they follow the same trends.
Do take the opportunity to check out the survey results for yourself or share your thoughts on my conclusions in the comments below.