NEW YORK: Informed consumers trust the media more than they did last year, while trust in businesses, government, and non-governmental organizations all dropped slightly from 2011, according to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Global trust in governments fell 9% to 42% compared with last year, while trust in media rose 4% to 52%. Trust in traditional news, social media, and corporate information all rose compared with the 2011 version of the report.
“Media is being seen as a very credible source for news and information about issues within government and issues within business,” said Alan VanderMolen, CEO of Edelman's global practices and diversified insights businesses. “The other three institutions [government, business, and NGOs] we saw stayed pretty flat, and I think most alarmingly for me is that government stays in that net distruster territory.”
He added that trust in government among US consumers is in a “fragile” state because of the difficulty passing a federal budget, as well as because the incumbent in the presidential race “isn't seen as hugely strong.”
“You're going to see a lot of rhetoric in hyperbole, and that's going to make the general population have a less-than-rosy view on trust in government,” he continued.
More than 30,000 consumers in 25 countries, ages 25 to 64, responded to the report. Respondents have college educations and are in the top 25% of their countries in terms of household income.
Global trust in both businesses and NGOs fell 3% to 53% and 58%, respectively, compared with last year. Consumers around the world trust the technology industry more than any other, with 79% of consumers saying they trust the sector. Two-thirds of consumers (66%) say they trust the automotive sector, followed by the food and beverage industry (64%) and consumer packaged goods businesses (62%). Less than a majority of consumers said they trust banks (47%) and financial services companies (45%).
On the business side, VanderMolen said there's an opportunity for corporations to “earn the license to lead” by creating partnerships with other companies and the public. He added that businesses can drive trust through operational functions, such as the delivery of reasonable returns and strong leadership, as well as engaging employees and customers through social media.