The study interviewed ‘opinon elites' - university educated people in the top 25 per cent of household income - in 18 countries. This group was chosen because they were the most likely to be influenced by PR, rather than advertising.
Twenty-five- to 34-year-olds were included for the first time, the survey having previously concentrated on 35- to 64-year-olds only.
This group had a ‘youthful optimism', were less xenophobic and more likely to trust companies from countries such as Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia - the four least trusted countries overall.
Edelman described this generation as ‘info-ential' - those that form their opinions after getting information from several sources. In general, they are positive about business but demand transparency and expect companies to be a force for good.
However, the agency's UK CEO Robert Phillips questioned whether this optim-ism would continue during a recession, which most had not previously witnessed.
Trust in social media is also up, although globally CNN, BBC and Google were the most relied-on news sources for information about a company (25 per cent, 17 per cent, and nine per cent respectively).
Interestingly, given the rise of information sharing on social networking sites, the meaning of ‘someone like me' continued to mean those who had similar interests or a similar political view, but the importance of being from the same local community fell from 44 per cent to 18 per cent in the UK.
In the UK, trust in government had risen - having dipped last year in what was thought to be a reaction to the Iraq war (PRWeek, 24 January 2007) - which Phillips put down to the change of administration.