About this time of year, just as my heart fills with the smell of strawberries and mown grass, and the sounds of TMS and murmuring insects, I lower the joy gauge by rereading Edelman’s Trust Barometer for the year. Edelman is, of course, the world’s largest independently owned public relations firm and every year they produce a “State of The Globe” survey of Trust.
In PR, of course, “Trust” is pretty well what we sell: Trust that what we say is accurate, honest and fair; and Trust that our client’s brands, products services and corporate behaviour are well above the public’s benchmark of integrity and propriety.
But in 2017, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer showed that for the first time ever, the general population’s trust in four key institutions – business, government, NGOs, and media – has declined significantly. The Trust Barometer has found that 53 percent of respondents believe the current overall system has failed them – it is unfair and offers little hope for the future.
Of the four institutions, business is viewed as the only one that can make a difference. Three out of four respondents agree a company can take actions to both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates. But for that to happen, business leaders must step up on the issues that matter to society.
That doesn’t only mean CSR programmes devised by some outside agency with minimal lip-service. It means getting the staff involved, getting the clients on board and making your community engagement a plan that everyone truly buys into.
“Your people.” need to trust you and Your people are from a far wider spectrum than you initially believed.