Speak out on politics but don't expect us to believe you, public tells business

The majority of people feel that big businesses should make public comments on political issues - however, they are unlikely to actually trust those public comments, according to research.

MHP spoke to 5,000 people for its second Effective Communications Index
MHP spoke to 5,000 people for its second Effective Communications Index

Research carried out by MHP Communications asked more than 5,000 adults globally whether they agree that it is the job of big corporations to comment on political issues if their business or the economy was affected.

Fifty-five per cent of respondents across the five regions (Brazil, Hong Kong, Germany, the UK and the US) agreed - although there was stronger agreement in Brazil and Germany. In the UK, 54 per cent agreed, compared with 49 per cent in the US and 39 per cent in Hong Kong.

When asked whether they trust what chief executives of big corporations say when they do make such statements, only 14 per cent of UK adults replied yes. The percentage was higher in the US (22 per cent) and in Asia (29 per cent).

The survey also asked people what they felt was most important in how a company communicates its message to the public. In total, 51 per cent of people said 'being transparent and open'; 40 per cent stated 'being a good employer'; and 35 per cent said 'being clear it understands its responsibilities to society'.

However, there were regional differences in how important transparency was viewed: being transparent and open was cited as important by 60 per cent of respondents in Brazil versus 58 per cent in the UK, 47 per cent in both the US and Germany and 42 per cent in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, 'having a powerful brand' was seen as least important, cited by just 14 per cent.

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