The Decline of Trust

The 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER  shows what we all felt — a world full of distrust. The annual report shows dramatic shifts in the marketplace and with the media. Since none of us operate in a vacuum, there are some key points that will affect how you communicate with employees and customers.

  • Trust in U.S. took a nose dive – the most dramatic decline since they started the Trust Barometer (18 years ago)
  • Americans have a strong sense of fear, uncertainty and disillusionment.
  • U.S. dropped from sixth place in 2017 to last place of the markets surveyed.
  • Even though it was primarily a loss in confidence in our government, this lack of credibility extends to people in charge – so watch for signs with your audience.
  • 63 percent of U.S. general population finds it difficult to distinguish between what is real news and what is fake.
  • Trust in companies headquartered in the U.S. dropped fives points (from 55 to 50 percent) since last year — after having already fallen from 61 percent in 2014.

On the bright side:

  • 64 percent say that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for governments to impose it (denoting a higher level of trust for business).
  • 64 percent believe business decisions reflect company values.
  • In the U.S. trust in employers actually rose +15 to 79 percent this year. (global average is 72 percent)

Recommendations in the report for businesses operating in markets that showed overall decline in trust (this includes the U.S.):

  • Safeguard privacy of employees & customers.
  • Drive economic prosperity.
  • Provide jobs and training.

In addition, guard information quality (make sure we are transparent, clear and giving the right information).


Download the global results.

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