The study, conducted by StrategyOne, found that the credibility of messages from 'a person like me' surpassed those of doctors and academics for the first time.
In the UK, trust in colleagues rose from 54 to 59 per cent of respondents. In the US it rose from 56 to 68 per cent – up from around 30 per cent in 2003.
'It has become evident that people believe those closest to them over doctors or journalists, and see company employees as
being more like them,' said Edelman London CEO Stuart Smith.
He added that the findings had fundamental consequences for internal communications, with firms needing to recognise that employees are their best ambassadors, each having his or her own sphere of influence.
The survey also found that the credibility of American brands was significantly lower in Europe, where Coke is 'trusted' by 41 per cent of people, compared with 65 per cent in the US.
Despite this, the credibility of US brands in Europe is on the up. For example, Nike has become more trusted, rising from a 37 per cent
rating in last year's barometer to 44 per cent. Smith ascribed this to a global trend of 'more trust in business'.
In October 2005, StrategyOne surveyed 2,000 graduates aged between 35 and 64 across 11 countries.
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