Every year the world’s largest PR firm, Edelman, conducts a significant study of trust and credibility. The 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm’s 10th, and for the first time includes Australia.
The interviewees for the 2009 survey are college educated with household income in the top quartile and report significant media consumption and engagement in business news.
Three of the most noteworthy findings are:
1. % who trust companies less.
When asked whether they trusted companies more or less than the same time last year, the Global response was 62% trusted less, and alarmingly Australia was in 4th place among the 20 countries surveyed at 74%.
While the Global high percentage who trust companies less is not unexpected considering the GFC, it is alarming that in a country which avoided the high profile corporate collapses, Australian consumers have lost their trust in local business to the extent they have.
2. % who trust business to do what is right.
The US response to the question of what % of consumers trust business to do what is right, was the lowest ever recorded at 38%. Lower even than 2002 following Enron and the dot-com bust.
The 2009 figure for Australia is marginally higher at 39%, well below the Global average of 49%.
Of most concern is the comparison with the response to certificate 3 disability this question by Australia’s trade partners – in China 71%, Brazil 69%, Indonesia 68%, India 65% trust business in their own country to do what is right.
Australian businesses are asking their offshore customers in these growing export markets to trust them to do what is right, but 61% of the consumers who must be considered to best understand Australian businesses have declared they do not trust them.
3. How much do you trust government to do what is right?
The Global response to this question increased marginally from 43% to 44% who declared they trust their governments to do what is right.
The Australian figure was among the higher scores at 53%
For Australian business leaders, they need to confront the fact that Australian consumers have significantly more trust in government at 53% than they do in business at 39%. In 13 of the 20 markets surveyed, business is more trusted than government.