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Will 2013 Political Antics Result in an Abysmal 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer?

by on January 10, 2014

Like many in the Marketing, PR and business world, I am anxiously awaiting the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer.  Will the bizarre political antics of 2013 result in abysmal results when the 2014 Trust Barometer is released? (Tweet this) Time will tell.

IMG_1859This is a question on the minds of many.  And, quite frankly it should be.  Organizations whether privately owned, publicly traded or even government-based, trust is becoming more important.    Having the social license to operate is based on the foundation of trust.  The same goes for those individuals (and organizations ) who wish to influence policy or purchasing decisions. Members of the C-suite (or senior government) and Marketers in particular should pay close attention to the results of the Trust Barometer and here are 5 reasons why:

 1. Investments

Over the years there has been a shift in the types of organizations that individuals want to associate with or invest time and/or money.  (This also applies to geographic locations.  See #3.) They want trustworthy organizations that are perceived to be doing the right things. If you are publicly traded you should be very interested to know where your industry falls within the barometer.

2.  Recruitment & Retention

Whether you are recruiting for your Board of Directors or your workforce, trust plays an important part in how your industry or profession is perceived.

If overall your industry is not faring well, it could impact your recruitment efforts. With this knowledge however, your C-suite and Marketing professionals can take steps to differentiate your specific brand and business.  With some careful planning, work, a lot of consistency and proper employment branding, it is possible to stand apart from the industry and be the bright light.

3.  Business Expansion

There is a lot of consideration given to business expansion and the choice of geographic location.  Businesses tend to stay away from areas or regions that don’t meet workforce planning requirements of skills, education, or demographics.  They also careful in locating in areas that have a questionable economic position.

More importantly though, managers that understand that reputation management is the single greatest risk that keeps Boards of Directors awake at night (as outlined by CIMA), and a country or region that has been identified as lacking trust will most certainly impact site location.  While some may not consciously realize that they are including this in their assessment, it is a contributing factor.   It relates directly to the region’s ability to attract and retain quality people.

4.  Employee Engagement

As BlessingWhite findings have shown us time and time again, engaged employees stay for what they can give versus the unengaged employees who stay for what they can get.  This should be a huge red flag for employers, including governments.  With reduced budgets, having the right people in the right frame of mind has never been more important.

The question for employee engagement should be:  if an industry has been identified as lacking trust, how does this trickle down to the organization?  The 2013 Trust Barometer found that on average employees were more trusted than CEOs when delivering information.  Add to that the gap in how the C-suite values the importance of treating employees well and there are significant concerns.

5. Spokesperson Selection

The Trust Barometer should be carefully referenced when thinking about corporate spokespersons.  Are CEOs the most trusted?  Are subject matter experts the most trusted?  Or, is the average employee the most trusted?

And just what were some of the political antics of 2013?  Let’s take a look at a few (in no particular order):

In the United States:

  1. Mayoral Race in New York
  2. Snowdon Leaks and the associated fallout
  3. Healthcare Debate
  4. Healthcare Rollout
  5. “The” Government Shutdown

And, really for the first time we can’t forget Canada.  A country that usually has super boring politics  saw a year when things went spinning out of control with media coverage focused on three key stories:

  1. Senate Spending Scandal – This is really several stories with Duffy, Pamela and Patrick.  After months of suspense and intrigue, the soap opera would just not go away.  And, into 2014, the story will continue.
  2. Quebec Charter of Values – Apparently in Quebec some feel that it is more than ok to merge Church and State.  Or, more appropriately, the State can/will tell you what you can wear or not wear to work and in public.  Next, they will tell you what language you can speak or not…oh…wait a minute…never mind.
  3. Mayor Ford of Toronto.  That’s it.  That is all I need to say about this.  Of all the stories, this one was very well covered by the media, the late night shows and satirists everywhere.  Everyone knows about Mayor Ford.

What is your take on Trust in 2014?  What do you anticipate we will see?

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