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Brief Published: 29 Jan 2020

2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Trust Divide

Trust inequality has reached a new high as the Barometer exposes a 14% trust gap between the informed public and the mass population

Despite a generally strong global economy, there is widespread distrust across major societal institutions, resulting in a “trust paradox” according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. We highlight key findings from the report and decode the opportunities for brands to encourage trust in their consumers.

  • Split Realities: Trust inequality has reached a new high as the Barometer exposes a 14% trust gap between the informed public – defined as wealthier, more educated individuals – (65%) and the mass population (51%). As income inequality (52%) now affects trust in the government more than economic growth (50%), brands should consider how to support the mass population and boost consumer faith. See Economic Inclusion and Aspirational Altruists for companies doing this effectively.
  • Tech for Trust?: Tech companies, in particular, have suffered from a loss of trust, with overall confidence in the industry declining 4% since last year. Sixty-one per cent of people surveyed feel the pace of change in technology is too fast, while the same percentage think governments do not understand emerging technologies enough to regulate them. Take a leaf from the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA)’s new 5G toolbox, which helps future-proof businesses to address cybersecurity risks of 5G before it rolls out.
  • Invest in Local: Sixty-nine per cent of respondents say that they trust people in their local area, compared to the 42% who trust government leaders and 36% who trust high-net-worth individuals. Brands should consider focusing on local outreach as a way to encourage organic trust growth for their businesses. 
  • Up Your Ethical Ethos: What a brand stands for is becoming more important than its effectiveness; the report found that ethics are three times (76%) as important to consumers in comparison to competence (24%). As consumers increasingly align their consumption with ethical values, brands need to lead with values to stand out from the crowd. See Brands as Change Leaders for more.

For more on the contentious topic of trust and business, see Targeting the Future Consumer, our coverage of Digital Life Design 2020.