The people who have a voice will win. Others are genuinely ready to trust you.
The results are in and whilst the UK moves further away from trusting figures from an establishment, those who apply authority through meaningful content to an engaged audience are the ones who will build a solid reputation.
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer has recently been released. It’s quite in depth, so I’ve done the figuring out. I’ll share the most relevant points with you, that relates to you becoming a trusted resource.
Whilst the common theme over the past few years is that trust is in tatters and has hit rock bottom for the government, the media and business, another side is emerging. There are clear signs that as we turn our cheek to the government for leadership there is a place for business to stand up and be counted.
This article has a focus on the UK, however, the world is united in the need for change (here is the global report to read, click here). The report is conducted from a global audience of 33,000+ respondents within 27 countries. Since 2001 the Edelman Trust Barometer has been a global measurement of trust.
The overall theme for the 2019 report, has moved to trust at work. There is a shift to employers and businesses to take the lead, instead of waiting for change from elsewhere.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Rock Bottom
The majority of the report does make bleak reading where political and economic fragility is having a massive impact on how people look to the future and their relationships with others.
This is not about highlighting doom and gloom and the picture of a fragmented society but highlighting the responsibility and opportunity. People are ready to step forward with you.
Four Key Themes I Want To Share With You
Let me highlight four key findings that hit home:
1. There Is A Place For Responsibility In What You Say And Do
Never before have we been in a stronger place, where the shift is from broadcasting your self-importance to the responsibility you have.
People are looking at their employers to lead.
This highlights the movement and shift from the logo and the motif to the importance of the individual. People trust the honesty of people, not business hyperbole.
As we come to the end of the decade, there is a shift from the investment and time in how something looks ie. the rebrand, the logo, the brand guidelines, to being recognised as a trustworthy source of information.
There is an increase in trust within several industry sectors, that include telecommunications, automotive and technology. People are ready to trust those who step up, not shy away.
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS: Trust is happening within sectors with those who are prepared to lead. Growing your business today is not necessarily about how many doors you can knock on or attention of eyeballs. It is about finding those who are willing to join you and believe in you.
2. The Rise Of The Normal
It has been long accepted that academic and technical experts are the truest points of credibility. It makes sense, they’ve dedicated their lives to a practice, they deserve the acknowledgment.
These both account for 63% of respondents who rate as very/extremely credible. However, the biggest increase in the past year has been the regular employee and a seven-point increase to 57% as extremely credible.
This presents the biggest opportunity for you. What this highlights is the importance of people trusting others who have a point of view and make their stand. This is the rise of the regular (whilst trust in CEOs and government continues to decline). People like familiarity, people like someone who they can connect with and has empathy.
Being relatable is more important than puffing your chest out and self-proclaiming that you know best and have the answers to everything.
Being relatable now becomes the differentiator. With many jumping on social media as the oracle, what happens is the people are now sounding the same as everyone else and cohabit the same echo chamber. The glut of expertise has become widespread, whereas honesty and observation can become a stronger hand to play.
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS: When you stop thinking you have to market to the crowd, but to an addressable audience, life becomes easier. A company that acknowledges and encourages others to participate and contribute is far stronger than thinking that you always have to be right.
3. A Wider Spread In The Channels Of Trust
Traditional media is still seen as the most trusted source of news and information (60% of respondents). However, there is a noted increase in the past year of trust from owned media (5%) and search engines (8%).
This highlights the growing importance to nurture the spaces that they can control (from your website, to email, to podcast) and build from. This is about going deeper, not wider, where you focus on the areas that strike a chord with you and others who share your mindset, rather than broadcasting in the hope to be everyone’s friend.
In a recent article (on the things you are not), I highlighted that when you know what you are not, it becomes easier to create and share. In order to create good work, we have to find no place to hide. It all comes down to accepting responsibility for what we are and what we stand against.
We have all been trained to present our best selves. It is how we look more professional and more attractive for others to work with you. Whilst it is difficult to present a vulnerable side when you can’t escape, you make something that is worth doing and accept full responsibility.
Being found also (via SEO) recognises a shift in importance for how we find our information. This points to the importance of creating an asset library of information, so when people find you, they can see a rich resource of work from you, that will make it easier for them to trust and become an ally.
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS: There is even more emphasis for you to become the source of information and insight, not the hotbed of spam ie. sending out the emails that have no meaning to anyone else, apart from what you want to sell.
4. People Want The Top Level To Act Not Pontificate
People are genuinely looking for leadership from alternative sources.
It’s not just about signposting to your business, but the responsibility that you have. It is not just about talking a good talk, but standing up and being counted.
There has been an increase in nearly 20% on the belief that CEOs become the source to take action and drive change, rather than waiting for the government to lead any form of initiative. Equal pay, prejudice and discrimination, and training for the jobs of tomorrow were highlighted as the main areas where CEOs can create positive change.
Similarly, for small businesses, you can either live a life of peacocking (looking for attention to impress others) on LinkedIn, or you can participate and play a role within the communities you represent. It is about implementing initiatives and the wider responsibility, not just communicating what our businesses do.
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS: The ones who challenge the status quo and do it in a transparent way will show progress in a world of doubt. If you can deliver an expectation for the future, people will follow.
Let’s Round Up
The Edelman Trust Barmometer 2019 report points to a ‘deeply divided and uneasy’ state of the nation. Add to that the departure from the EU, then we might as well throw the towel in and give up. On the other side of the coin, this is where the opportunity sits.
People are looking out to others to reach out to and feel a part of. Businesses can achieve this by having responsibility and having meaning in someone else’s life. This isn’t about finding a way to shoehorn product into any message, but show true worth and ways for others to see that you do care, show authority and do it with integrity.
This is not about campaign work, it is about having meaning. Even if the ripples are small, but have resonance on a local level, then the dents and seeds for longevity are achievable.
People can easily see through the lies, bravado, and coercion. We are now all part of a level playing field, that provides such a rich space to delve deeper into.
It is safe to say that trust is a finite resource, but people are prepared to be associated with someone (rather than something) they believe in.
To read the full UK report, here it is: