Me? Trust You?

Trust is one of those dynamics that’s impossible to measure…until you’ve lost it.

That’s why we appreciate the effort that public relations firm Edelman devotes to its annual Trust Barometer.  The barometer measures the credibility of institutions, spokespeople and sources. If your trust is high or rising, you can accelerate it through smart messaging for media interviews. If your trust is low or dropping, you are being set up for a crash course in crisis communication. (Of course, the nature of crises is that you can’t predict them…but that’s a topic better left to crisis communication diva Jane Jordan-Meier.

Here are the highlights:

Most trusted industries:

  • Technology
  • Automotive
  • Telecommunications

Least trusted industries:

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Financial Services

What factors build a trustworthy organizational reputation?

  • High quality goods and services – 69%
  • Transparent and honest business practices — 65%
  • Company I can trust – 65%
  • Treats employees well – 63%
  • Communicates frequently – 55%

And, what types of sources are viewed as most credible?

  • Academic or expert – 70%
  • Technical expert within company  – 64%
  • Industry/financial expert – 53%
  • CEO – 50%

Counterintuitively, one of the strongest trends for the 2011 Barometer was the rebound in CEO trust and the erosion of  man-on-the-street employees. Looks like at least half the public is willing to cede some credibility out of the box to the 1%, after all.

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