Edelman Trust Barometer, 2008

This morning in London we launched the ninth Edelman Trust Barometer, by far now, the biggest piece of intellectual property in the PR industry. There is so much in this I will just take out some of the key bullet points from a European perspective. As usual, the whole thing is downloadable from http://www.edelman.com and you are welcome to use it (as long as you credit us). As ever it makes for very interesting reading:

There are divided patterns of trust in institutions, with UK, France, German, Italy and Ireland, showing several significant increases; Sweden and Poland showing several significant drops; and Spain, Netherlands and Poland remaining at about statistical parity.

  • In the wake of ‘regime changes’ in the UK and France, trust in government had rebounded significantly in both countries – rising back to ’06 levels (note: fieldwork done in November and since then both Brown and Sarkozy have had ‘trust’ challenges).
  • Italy shows trust increases for companies, industry sectors and credibility increases for spokespeople.
  • Spain shows trust increases for companies and credibility increases for spokespeople.

Trust in business remained at statistical parity with last year in all European countries except Sweden where it dropped significantly.

NGOs and business tend to lead ahead of other institutions, with NGOs playing the dominant role.

  • Europe still trusts NGOs more than business – in UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain Netherlands, and Ireland, NGO trust leads business; only in Sweden, Russia and Poland is business the more trusted of the two.
    • Business is less trusted in the E.U. overall than in all other regions of the world, with France and Germany having the lowest scores.
    • NGOs are the most trusted institution in 6 of the 10 European countries surveyed (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland), business in two (Russia and Poland) and government in two (Sweden and Netherlands)
    • Underscoring the greater trust in NGOs, Amnesty International and the UN (along with Samsung) are the brands Europeans trust the most.
  • At the same time, business and NGOs tend to both edge out government, with higher trust levels for both institutions in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland.
    • In contrast, the more socialist-inclined Netherlands, Sweden, and France all place trust in government ahead of trust in business.

Europe encompasses both ends of the trust spectrum: Sweden, Germany and Canada remain the most trusted head-quarter countries among all opinion elites surveyed, and China, Mexico and Russia remain the least trusted.

For the first time our study included a group of younger elites. All European countries surveyed included our traditional ‘opinion former’ set (see here for methodology) of 150 35-64 year olds. But in France, Germany, Russia and UK we included a sample of 50 25-34 year olds for purposes of age comparison.

A youthful optimism in France, Germany, Russia and UK:

  • Europe is traditionally a skeptical audience when it comes to business earning trust, yet the rising 25-34 influencer generation in France and UK show a youthful optimism in trust in business compared to their more jaundiced 35-64 year old counterparts.
    • In France, Germany and the UK, trust in business is significantly higher among the younger cohort (47% vs. 36%)
    • In France the business trust gap is a full 22 points (25-34 52%, 35-64 30%)
      • Younger French also are more trusting of NGOs.

Younger elites embracing social media and web-based communications:

  • Younger opinion elites France, Germany and the UK show higher usage of company’s own website and online message boards.
  • They engage in significantly more online activities, including sending instant messaging, reading blogs, playing online games, posting pictures/videos, and participating in live discussions.
  • They are more likely than their older counterparts to share opinions and experiences of companies on the web – with respect to both trusted and distrusted companies.

Frankly I am still digesting all of this myself and look forward to the discussions I will have on presenting this in Davos and then in Russia and Poland. This is my favourite time of year at Edelman! Love to get your input too.

Trust press release

[tags] Edelman, Trust Barometer [/tags]

Categories Technology

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