Opportunities for brands – Edelman Trust Barometer

In February 2016, we held an event in The Marker to unveil the findings of the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2016. In front of a packed room of clients and representatives from the public and private sectors the findings were unveiled by our managing director Joe Carmody followed by a keynote speech from His Excellency Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Ireland. The findings were then discussed in detail by  an esteemed panel of Mr. Robert Watt, Secretary General at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Ms. Dearbhail McDonald, Associate Editor and Legal Affairs Editor at the Irish Independent along with the Ambassador. Shane Coleman, Newstalk’s Political Editor did a fantastic job MCing the event.

This was my first Edelman Trust Barometer. It’s a unique piece of intellectual property that I have admired from afar over the past few years. One of the key reasons I joined Edelman is because it’s the biggest agency in the world and the Trust Barometer is a strong indicator of the genuine collaboration across the global network. For the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, research firm Edelman Berland surveyed more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries.

Why is Trust important?

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Opportunities and implications for brands

There’s a good summary of the event and insights on TheJournal.ie here and on our own website here but I’ve outlined what I see as some of the key implications and opportunities for brands in Ireland below to increase trust.

Increasing CEO visibility: When it came to the spokespeople that were most trusted by the public CEO credibility saw the biggest increase.  Granted, the rise was from a pretty low base of 31% the jump to 43% represented the biggest jump on our list. CEOs are earning trust back after a few tough years. Edelman employs a 16 point trust-building leadership attribute audit for trust in Irish CEOs and in Ireland our CEOs were seen as underperforming under every single point. We know that Irish CEOs are performing better than the public believes so it’s all about communication.

“Real CSR”: Making a profit is not something to be ashamed of. All too often, we’re seeing organisations use CSR as a bolt on for cheap PR but it’s the organisations who build worthwhile social responsibility into their DNA that benefit the most.

More scope for controlling the message: Search engine, owned and social all saw rises in trust levels. Delving deeper into this we also saw a specific increase in trust levels for content created by brands from 40% to 60%.

Utilising employees as spokespeople: Employees are essential spokespeople. Companies that have the courage to empower employees as spokespeople can earn trust. Our research found that for a number of topics including crises and performance an employee can be seen as the most credible spokesperson.

Online influencer marketing: I’ve already touched on the jump in trust levels for content created by companies but the above chart shows the myriad of voices and their trust levels. It’s important to use the right people to engage with and amplify your content. Interestingly, content created or shared by celebrities is less trusted than that of elected officials.

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These are just some of my own thoughts from a very extensive piece of research into trust. If you would like more information on the Trust Barometer or to talk about how you can build trust levels in your organisation talk to me at martyn.rosney@edelman.com.

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