What communication professionals should know about the state of trust in 2020

The Edelman Trust Barometer is this global communication agency’s annual trust and credibility survey. Its results paint a picture of levels of trust across business, government, NGOs and media. The 2020 edition of the survey gathered perspectives from more than 34,000 respondents in 28 markets.

The Canadian results of the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer were released on February 19. They summarize how confidence – in the system, in economic prospects and in the future of work – has impacted how trusting the Canadian population is of institutions and individuals.

Within the results are some facts and insights that communication professionals should know to help increase the effectiveness and credibility of communication activities.

First, it reports on the levels trust of different sources of information. Traditional media is the most trustworthy, while social media is the least.

Source: Edelman Canada

This is an important insight to keep in mind as communication strategies and tactics are shaped. For example, if you are sharing information about a sensitive or potentially contentious product or service, using media relations to gain earned media coverage would likely be the best channel to use.

Second, communication professionals should know that ethics trump competence in terms of gleaning trust. Audiences now approach the news and information that they consume with a healthy dose of skepticism. Also, the public discourse around inequality, diversity and climate change has created an expectation that companies, institutions and public figures should make ethical decisions and take ethical actions.

What does this mean? Ensuring that spokespeople are genuinely ethical and trustworthy will increase the likelihood that messages resonate with audiences. For example, when selecting a spokesperson for a media tour, influencer campaign or celebrity endorsement, it’s important that you do due diligence to ensure the person and/or their organization have track records of taking ethical actions. It’s no longer acceptable to select a spokesperson who is only intelligent, experienced or charismatic. They need to have it all!

Read more about the Canadian results of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 here.

Are there any other findings within the results that you think communication professionals should know? Share in the comments.

Image credits: Pexel.com; Edelman Canada.

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