The 2011 Edelman Australian Trust Barometer was launched February. You can read the executive summary here or see the full report findings on SlideShare. The reports research methodology can be viewed here.
The annual Trust Barometer surveys informed publics around the world, including Australia, on the state of trust in various issues, ideas and institutions. This year’s results point to the importance of aligning your business’ profit motive with the needs of society, that demand for authority and accountability has set new expectations for corporate leadership and that pushing your company’s messages through multiple voices and channels is critical in order to overcome an evolving media landscape and deepening skepticism.
I’ll share some top-line findings for you and your business, as well as the implications corporate communicators should consider.
The credibility of CEOs and trust in business and government strengthened
Trust in government and business has reached heights similar to that before the GFC. While governments in Australia faced major criticism last year, the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer found more than half (52%) of Australia’s opinion influencers trust government to do what is right. This represents an increase of 11 percentage points since 2010, bringing trust in government back to 2009 benchmark levels.
The credibility of CEOs jumped considerably in 2011. CEOs now rank among the most credible spokespeople in Australia, a striking rise from two years ago when they were in the bottom of the rankings. About half of opinion influencers now say CEOs are credible spokespeople, a 30 percentage point increase over 2009.
Transparency, honesty and trust are key reputation attributes for Australians
Ensuring ethical behaviour is vital for our companies as transparency and honesty topped the list of corporate reputation attributes that Australians value. Transparent and honest business practices (64%) are as important as quality products (63%). Price also matters: Australians are looking for companies to price brands fairly and competitively (55%), an important attribute for reputation in 2011, up 17 percentage points since 2010.
In Australia, there is a search for authority and expertise
The Trust Barometer found a flight to qualified spokespeople, with academics/experts (69%) and technical experts within a company (67%) seen as most credible. By contrast, a “person like me,” has dropped by 10 percentage points since 2009, down to 31%.
Search is King: Online search engines the ‘go-to’ source of information about a company
Australians are using search engines first when sourcing information about an organisation (35%), followed by online news outlets (22%). Company websites are now also seen as an important information source, ranking third (16%). Although Australians are going online first for information, they view traditional media sources such as business magazines (27%), newspapers (23%) and radio (23%), along with online search (27%), as the most trusted (“Trust a great deal”) sources of information about a company.
While many of the recent innovations in communications have helped businesses reach more stakeholders more quickly across multiple platforms, the evolutionary landscape has also presented a series of challenges. The shift to increased digital conversation, a 24/7 media cycle and the enhanced visibility of executive leadership has underlined the need – as never before – for authentic and effective corporate communications strategies and content.
The full report:
Other opinions on this year’s Trust Barometer stats:
- Kate Ferguson – CSR and its impact on trust
- Matthew Gain – The importance of search engines and social media in forming Trust
- Nic Jarvis – The rise of the CEO
- Global Edelman Trust Barometer stats
- Last year’s APAC results
We would love to hear your thoughts on this year’s report.