Brands Are Becoming the New Bearers of Public Trust

by | Sep 7, 2022 | Uncategorized

If you feel that trust in government and media is at an all-time low, the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer—a survey of 36,000 people in 28 countries—proves you right.

According to the most recent figures of the survey, a majority of people believe government cannot get things done and nearly two-thirds of people believe that they are being lied to by both government and the media. Both government and media are seen as pandering to special interests and are no longer to be trusted.

Sadly, while none of this may seem surprising or overly shocking to you in this age of distrust, the following bit might surprise: Business, along with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are seen as both trusted and ethical, and well beyond either government or media. In fact:

  • Business is seen as 53% more competent than government, and
  • People want 4-5x more involvement from business on societal issues

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One of the conclusions drawn from this extraordinary survey by CEO Richard Edelman is that “Societal leadership is now a core business function.” And it is easy to see why: In a world where people distrust their government and the media, people are turning to businesses and brands for competence and credibility.

Of course, this increase in trust also puts more pressure on businesses to take a stand on societal issues which, traditionally at least, transcends their remit. As people increasingly expect those brands they purchase and invest in to not only have an opinion on environmental, societal and/or humanistic issues, but to actively walk the talk, brand owners and managers now need to wade into broader and more complex issues than creating and supporting products and services. This is no small matter.

But it’s not all risk. Research shows that credible and trusted brands are more likely to be considered for purchase and engender customer loyalty. In fact, a recent study reported in Forbes indicates that customers are between four and six times more likely to purchase from, defend and advocate purpose-driven brands.

In today’s world where government and media have by their own behavior forfeit the majority’s trust, brands are being called upon more than ever to fill the void of public trust and credibility. For more information on how a brand can grow stronger by embracing a purpose that transcends products or services, see our post Harness Purpose to Build a Stronger Brand.

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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