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?


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.


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.


Six lessons from a “recent-ish” PR graduate

I was delighted to present at the annual Communications Conference run by the DIT PRPA Society recently. The title of my presentation was,”Lessons from a recent-ish MAPR graduate”. As someone who graduated from the MA in PR in 2010 it gave me a good chance to take stock of some of the tips and tricks I have picked since I graduated. Well done to the organisers of the event who I am sure have a bright PR future ahead of them, I was particularly impressed with the high turnout for a Friday afternoon!

Standing out

  • Do what you can to differentiate yourself, there’s lots like you who are hungry for that first job out of college.
  • ALWAYS adapt your CV and cover letter to suit the job. Get creative with how you apply for jobs.
  • Volunteer, round out your CV. Get involved with different organisations or projects.


  • This will always be one of the most crucial skills for PRs.
  • Write all the time. Hone your craft. Blog. Contribute to other outlets where you feel you can offer an insight or opinion.
  • In the ideal world you want what appears in print/online etc. about your client to be as close as possible to your release. Make the job easier by always writing with the journalists in mind.
  • Avoid stupid grammatical and spelling errors.

Knowing your channels

  • Read, watch, listen as much as you can.
  • Pick up random magazines, go to random websites you usually wouldn’t. You never know where inspiration for a pitch will come from.
  • Never pitch somewhere without doing your research on the recipient. There is no quicker way to annoy media.
  • Never rely on someone else’s media list without checking all the recipients first.


  • Network as much as you can, you never know where your next client could come from!
  • Online is a great way of networking. More and more relationships are built and nurtured online.
  • Don’t forget about the “real world” though. Get to as many events as you can that fit with the work you want to pursue.

Understanding Business

  • Remember everything you do has a business objective.
  • Get a feel for the hours you work on different clients, try and be productive with your time.
  • Be humble. Remember, what some might consider “wishy-washy” is designed to fulfil some business objective.
  • Treat all those you deal with professionally at all times.
  • Don’t devalue yourself or the work you have put into getting your education by working for free.

Always Be Learning

  • The more you know about everything the better.
  • You never know when that blog post you read on that obscure topic might come in handy.
  • Try to learn about people in advance before meeting them.
  • Try to make yourself an expert on a topic where your organisation lacks that expertise e.g. Snapchat, Internal Comms, Photoshop.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn from colleagues, friends, clients, online and anywhere else you can.

These are just my own thoughts based on my own experience. If you have any advice for young communications graduates please share them.

The full presentation is here:

Wilson Hartnell takes home two awards at PR Awards for Excellence

Wilson Hartnell was delighted to win two awards at the recent PR Awards for Excellence that were held in The Conrad. WH picked up awards for its work on Calor and Electric Ireland.

Robert Marshall, Account Director – Public Affairs, Wilson Hartnell, and Sharon Nolan, Strategic Planning Manager, Calor Gas pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Robert Marshall, Account Director – Public Affairs, Wilson Hartnell, and Sharon Nolan, Strategic Planning Manager, Calor Gas pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Calor won the award for its Calor Community Champion initiative in the “Best corporate campaign in support of organisational values” category. The judges deemed that the winner demonstrated a thoughtful and energetic approach to achieving their objectives. Alongside the excellent PR practice, the dimensions noted by the judges were: the well-integrated, strong, geographical reach achieved; the focus on social media and establishment of new connections; and the successful link which was made between the company’s business and giving back, locally, around the country.

Electric Ireland and Wilson Hartnell at the PR Awards for Excellence

Lynne D'Arcy, Account Director – Sports Marketing & Sponsorship , Wilson Hartnell, and Sean Walsh, Electric Ireland pictured with An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Nigel Heneghan, PRCA Chairman

Electric Ireland scooped the “Best use of sponsorship” award.  The judges found that the sponsorship campaign from Electric Ireland was an outstanding example of a sponsorship achieving results which reverberated across all aspects of the brand communications. The judges found it a positive and appealing sponsorship – and the PR execution was creative, tactical, and well considered. The dynamic imagery created to launch the campaign became part of a fully integrated campaign, above and below the line. And the sponsorship achieved a real connection with consumers, the media and the company’s own employees – with post activation research showing that all objectives set were met, and far exceeded!