This week, Richard Edelman presented the 11th annual Edelman Trust Barometer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Among the key findings: 1) the norms for trust are once again shifting, and 2) trust in banks took a dive in the West while trust in the technology remained the most trusted industry globally . More than anything else, there is a growing desire for businesses, governments and the media to demonstrate a sense of shared value or “profit with a purpose.” It’s no longer enough for your favorite brand to do well, but it must do good for society while being transparent and engaging.
Trust is evolving around the globe, so we asked five regional voices to highlight some of the most striking and important changes.
1. Alan Vandermolen – President CEO, Edelman Global Practices Diversified Insights Businesses
More clearly than ever, the 2011 Trust Barometer is a call for business to pursue both profit and purpose. The data show us that the majority (52 percent) of those surveyed globally say that the social responsibility of business is to make money while at the same time 78 percent of those surveyed globally say that they also expect business to contribute to the broader needs of society. Our respondents feel so strongly about this that 61 percent globally say they want government to play a role in making sure business behaves in a responsible manner.
Another crucially important finding this year is the importance of search. Our respondents say that search is the first stop, by a wide margin, for learning about a company—29% compared to online news (19%) and print media (15%). This underscores that search is rapidly becoming a critical core competency need for business communicators.
2. Michael Slaby - Executive Vice President, Global Practice Chair, Digital
While the Trust Barometer shows some important increases in corporate trust – particularly in comparison to public institutions and governments – it continues to reveal the importance of taking a holistic view of communications. To ensure a broad enough reach and sufficient opportunities for your communities to engage in all the places possible to develop a meaningfully trusting relationship, companies and brands must effectively utilize as many channels as possible across the entire clover leaf of media – paid, earned, owned, and social.
3. Marshall Manson – Managing Director, Digital, EMEA
The story in Europe is the dominance of search engines and online news sources as the first and second destination for people looking for news. Similarly, Google is identified as the most relied on source for company information in every market in Europe where we surveyed, except Russia, where local search engine leader Yandex ranked first.
4. Sylvain Perron - Managing Director, Canada
This year’s study reveals that search engines have surpassed online news sources as the first place people go to search for information. This means that companies must, more than ever, become their own media companies. They must be out there engaging, commenting, offering up valuable content and building relationships with key communities on the social web to increase the discoverability of their brands. It is not enough to be active on their own properties, they need to be capitalizing on both earned and social opportunities to spark positive discussions.
5. Thiane Loureiro – Regional Director, Latin America
In this year’s study search engines are the first source of information followed by online news. It means companies in Latin America that haven’t yet joined the conversation need to do it right away. They need to invest in establishing long-term relationships with stakeholders and take advantage of their expertise to produce relevant content on multiple social media channels and organically improve their position on Google. They need to realize that they can be media and become active on proprietary spaces as well as social media to earn word of mouth, increase reputation and gain trust. In Brazil, where the social media landscape is more advanced than in other countries in the region, companies also need to invest more in engagement instead of relying on advertising and one-shot campaigns to create buzz and nothing else. Quantitative needs to be replaced by qualitative metrics, social CRM has to gain importance and content curation can be a great way to become a news source and position brands as doors to added-value experience.
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