Faith in business returning. Oh really?

Am late blogging our own data. Travel does that.

The FT coverage of the first ever midyear Edelman Trust Barometer correctly took us back to the last study and the fevered and frightened days of January and Davos when trust in business scored pretty low everywhere and had fallen spectacularly by 20% in the US. I won’t say the gasps were audible when Richard and I presented those numbers, but everyone seemed to think they captured the mood of a world about to enter recession and maybe worse.

And so perhaps it is natural to declare as the FT has with this midyear re-appraisal that ‘faith in business is returning’. In some markets there is a statistically significant rebound, but I don’t think the numbers actually bear that optimism out across the six markets as a whole.

As you can see from the key chart in the study above, trust in business in the US with 12% and France with 11% has indeed risen. But given that France was at a very low point of 30% (our world record is 28% also for France) and that the new US score of 48% still only puts it in the medium of the last ten years of sceptical European market levels, it is probably best to leave the champagne on ice for a while longer.

Another reason for my more pessimistic take is that the Trust Barometer is a little bit of a blunt instrument with a statistical variation of around 6% based on the sample size we can afford to poll (hence why the trends over so many years are important). The increase in the trust score for business across all markets averages at 4.3% and so is well below a number you would bet the mortgage on. And finally, all of the US, UK, France and Germany score below 50%. That’s right, when we asked opinion formers “do you trust business to do the right thing” less than 50% said “yes”. That’s a pretty feeble green shoot of trust.

But the numbers are massively useful for taking to the boss and the board, as is the list of solutions, none of which are rocket science, but again do have easy to grasp percentages attached to.

UK version of the data here. Reproduce as you like, but please credit Edelman Trust Barometer (especially if you work for another agency).

Categories Technology

1 thought on “Faith in business returning. Oh really?

  1. Dear David,

    It is good to see you giving your own survey results an insightful and critical review. I have offered another take on my PR blog, which states my more positive assessment of what lies beneath the surface of your mid-year trust survey’s results:


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