"Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something." - this is the definition of trust in the Oxford dictionary.
The Edelman TRUST BAROMETER is the biggest study of trust. I cover it every year.
The 2018 research reveals yet again a world of seemingly stagnant distrust where people’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media remained largely unchanged from 2017 — 20 of 28 countries surveyed now lie in distruster territory, up one from last year.
But 2018 marks a number of interesting shifts such as the return of experts, increased trust in journalists and bigger faith in CEOs.
Let's take a look at the key learnings that I took from the research.
9 Things You Need to Know About Trust in 2018:
- The credibility of “a person like yourself” — often a source of news and information on social media — dipped to an all-time low in the study’s history. People have a renewed faith in credentialed voices of authority.
- Voices of expertise are now regaining credibility. Journalists have risen 12 points, and CEOs recorded a seven-percentage point gain, since 2017. Technical experts, financial industry analysts, and successful entrepreneurs now register credibility levels of 50 percent or higher.
- For the first time, media is the least trusted institution globally. In 22 of the 28 countries surveyed it is now distrusted. There is a widespread belief that media is failing to meet key societal expectations — receiving scores of 50 percent or less when it comes to guarding information quality, educating people on important issues, and helping inform good life decisions. The demise of confidence in the media is driven primarily by a significant drop in trust in platforms, notably search engines and social media.
- Globally, nearly seven in 10 respondents among the general population worry about fake news or false information being used as a weapon, and 59 percent say that it is getting harder to tell if a piece of news was produced by a respected media organization. The origin of content begins to matter more. We see this concern expressed in the rise in trust of journalism while trust in social networks and search are declining.
- Business is now expected to be an agent of change. The employer is the new safe house in global governance, with 72 percent of respondents saying that they trust their own company. And 64 percent believe a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.
- There are new expectations of corporate leaders. Nearly 7 in 10 respondents say that building trust is the No. 1 job for CEOs, ahead of high-quality products and services. Nearly two-thirds say they want CEOs to take the lead on policy change instead of waiting for government, which now ranks significantly below business in trust in most markets.
- Technology (75 percent) remains the most trusted industry sector followed by Education (70 percent), professional services (68 percent) and transportation (67 percent). Financial services (54 percent) was once again the least trusted sector along with consumer packaged goods (60 percent) and automotive (62 percent).
- The U.S. has suffered the largest-ever-recorded drop in the survey’s history among the general population. Trust among the general population fell nine points to 43, placing it in the lower quarter of the 28-country Trust Index. Trust among the informed public in the U.S. imploded, plunging 23 points to 45, making it now the lowest of the 28 countries surveyed, below Russia and South Africa.
- Companies headquartered in Canada (68 percent), Switzerland (66 percent), Sweden (65 percent) and Australia (63 percent) are most trusted. The least trusted country brands are Mexico (32 percent), India (32 percent), Brazil (34 percent) and China (36 percent). Trust in brand U.S. (50 percent) dropped five points, the biggest decline of the countries surveyed.
Read the full study here:
Who do you trust?