CHICAGO: Edelman has launched the Edelman Trust Institute, a global center for the study and expansion of trust.
After more than two decades of research on the topic, the firm is expanding on the Edelman Trust Barometer report series with new data sets and foresights on the state of the public’s trust of government, the media, nonprofits and other institutions.
Justin Blake will serve as executive director of the institute with the goal of providing leaders with a deeper understanding of trust and equipping them with actionable insight about the changing dynamics of trust as it builds and erodes. Blake, global chair of executive positioning at Edelman, will retain his role.
While beneficial across Edelman’s client roster, the institute does not have a direct commercial agenda, according to Russell Dubner, global vice chairman of Edelman and chair of the Trust Institute.
“[The institute] will bolster what we do for our clients, but this is also about having real-world impacts,” he said. “With our deep study of the topic, it affects thought leadership, often our clients, and it’s made our teams experts with their finger on the pulse of the state of trust.”
The Trust Institute will partner with academia, companies and foundations and will be counseled by an advisory board of academics who will help to shape its research, programming and partnership agenda.
“When you think of us taking trust to another level, being able to have the input of people who are so global and expert is only going to help bolster the great work we’ve already been doing on trust,” Blake said.
The board includes Pierre Chandon, L’Oréal chaired professor of marketing, innovation and creativity at INSEAD and director of the INSEAD-Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab; Stephanie Creary, organizational scholar and assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania; Hong Fan, Tsinghua University professor of journalism and communications and director of the National Image Research Center; Rik Kirkland, former editor of Fortune and partner and director of publishing at McKinsey; and Sandra Sucher, professor at Harvard Business School.
Upcoming work for the institute includes reports on brand trust in late June and return to work in September as well as a study of trust and sustainability to coincide with the U.N. Climate Change Conference in November.
Blake and Dubner also plan to launch the Edelman Trust Institute Summer Series, a virtual convention of Edelman global clients, thought leaders and media experts.
Edelman released the latest edition of its Trust Barometer last month, showing the growing trust in business and the continued decline of trust in government and media.