The Idea: Edelman, the world’s largest PR agency, has recently published their annual trust survey and the results are gloomy, at best. The research shows that public trust in the U.S. government remains near historic lows, although somewhat higher than during the October 2013 government shutdown. Only 24% said they trust the federal government in Washington. We are experiencing a crisis in leadership. Furthermore, only 50% of respondents said they trust business to do what is right. Trust has been violated and we are all vulnerable.
Consumers don’t trust their government leaders and they do not trust mass media and public adverting campaigns. Only 66% of consumers trust CPG brands, and trust in CEO’s has fallen to 43%, which means less than one of two people trust corporate leadership. In fact, 72% of Millennials believe on-line search engines are now the portal of choice for assessing information, which is why “Crowd-Sourcing Companies,” like Yelp and Amazon, with their product reviews, have grown tremendously at the hands of this surge in distrust.
Edelman’s research highlights that a lack of trust affects everything, including overall sales. And a lack of trust dramatically hinders brand performance. Six out of ten consumers will not buy a product or service they do not trust. And more than one of two consumers will share negative brand feedback with friends. Trust matters!
So how do we improve trust that has been broken?
- Honesty: people don’t buy brands, they join them. And they return to brands that don’t disappoint and brands that always tell the truth. Even if the truth isn’t pretty.
- Experience: a brand is a promise, creating an experience and an emotional connection. The ultimate experience is one centered in 360 consumer services. We all want to engage with brands that keep serving until we are delighted.
- Purpose: all research shows that people will go the extra mile and will pay more for products and services that are bigger than a transaction. Most people follow purpose driven organizations. They will invest heart and soul with brands and companies with a cause.
We must all start rethinking what trust actually means. How it is earned, and how it can be lost. This is not open for debate.