On January 23, Edelman released survey findings that shows (in the U.S.) trust in "a person like me" increased from 20% in 2003 to 68% today. Opinion leaders also consider rank-and-file employees more credible spokespersons than corporate CEOs (42% vs. 28% in the U.S.). Richard Edelman says:
"We have reached an important juncture, where the lack of trust in established institutions and figures of authority has motivated people to trust their peers as the best sources of information about a company. Companies need to move away from sole reliance on top-down messages delivered to elites toward fostering peer-to-peer dialogue among consumers and employees, activating a company's most credible advocates."
Other interesting findings:
- Television is the big loser in media trustworthiness with the rise of the Internet. When asked where they turn first for trustworthy information, 29% of respondents in the U.S. still cite TV first, down from 39% three years ago. The Internet is now cited by 19%, up from 10% in 2003.
- Articles in business magazines is the most credible source of information about a company (US = 66%), followed closely by "friends and family," which has grown very strongly in the U.S. (2003=35% vs. 2006=58%)
- Trust has important bottom-line consequences. In most markets, more than 80% say they would refuse to buy goods or services from a company they do not trust, and more than 70% will "criticize them to people they know," with one-third sharing their opinions and experiences of a distrusted company on the Web.