Edelman Trust Barometer 2013
I had the pleasure of being invited to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer this week which took place at the Westbury, Dublin. On a personal note it was slightly unusual for me to no longer be on the Edelman-side of the fence, but it was nice to see some familiar faces and catch-up with former colleagues.
All in all, it was a great event with Mark Cahalane, Edelman MD presenting the results, Paul Kimmage delivering a top keynote and Dan O’Brien, Economics Editor at The Irish Times, Professor Niamh Brennan of University College Dublin and Hugo MacNeill, Managing Director Ireland at Goldman Sachs making up the expert panel.
The research painted a picture of a highly skeptical public and crisis in leadership was the main theme to emerge with a serious lack of confidence noted in both government and business. This deep distrust is perhaps unsurprising with many countries struggling to cope with the effects of the recession. Whilst the industries which did more than most to cause it, namely, banking and financial services are still perceived to be behaving badly due to their much maligned, yet continuing bonus culture.
The most trusted sources of information are once again traditional media, NGOs and search engines, whilst academics, experts and a person like yourself remain the most credible spokespeople. This year’s Barometer was remarkable in that it was quite unremarkable. By this I mean there weren’t many surprises in the findings, but as always the expert team at Edelman distilled them into actionable insights.
For me, the most thought-provoking part of the research is the ‘16 Attributes for Building Trust’. My view is that you should send these to your board and challenge them to consider how the organisaion would score currently (there may even be scope to develop them into a balanced scorecard). It’s clear from these clusters that if your business wants to earn a licence to lead in the age of austerity it needs to do more than focus on the bottom-line. Much more in fact.
In industries where trust is fractured there is an opportunity to set clear objectives against each attribute in a bid to re-establish trust and regain a licence to operate. In a world where trust can be lost in minutes it’s important to recognise that businesses no longer compete on price, product and promotion, but reputation too.