NEW YORK: The US isn't the only place where people have lost trust in major corporations. A new study from Golin/Harris International shows loss of trust is also a major issue for companies doing business across Asia.
Golin this summer surveyed consumers in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Singapore. It found 85% of Tokyo respondents said there is a crisis of trust there, as well as 71% of those in Taipei, 68% in Hong Kong, and 67% in Singapore.
The survey demonstrates that communications professionals at multinational companies must make senior management aware of trust concerns globally, and to craft messages that resonate with local markets, said Mark Rozeen, director of research for Golin.
The most trusted industries in Asia, the survey found, are electric utilities, computers, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and autos. In the US, the top five are supermarkets, major retailers, drug stores, computers and the health and beauty business.
The Asian choices reflect societal tendencies to admire companies that have contributed to society as a whole, Rozeen explained. Electric companies and telecommunication companies have helped in the industrialization and modernization in Asia, and are thus held in high regard, for example.
Americans tend to admire companies that have benefited them personally.
Perceptions of industries vary across Asia. "Our tendency is to think of the region as a homogenous whole," Rozeen said.
In Singapore, aligning with the government increases trust in a company, said Jeffrey Schultz, MD, Golin/Harris Forrest. That can be done by working with local universities and by "developing corporate messages that promote Singapore's vision of itself," he said.
In Hong Kong, banks and electric power companies are considered stable and well-managed, noted C.T. Hew, MD with Golin/Harris Forrest there.
"Hong Kong is renowned for its reputation as an international financial center, and banking is considered a key strategic driver of the economy," he said.
THE MOST TRUSTED INDUSTRIES
ASIA UNITED STATES
Electric Supermarket giants
Computers Major retailers
Telecommunications Drug stores
Automotive Health & beauty
THE LEAST TRUSTED INDUSTRIES
Property Development Oil & gas
Health & Beauty Insurance
SOURCE: Golin/Harris International Trust surveys