Trust is More Important than Ever

Published On: September 11th, 2020Categories: PR, Black VanillaBy

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, trusting a company or brand is more important to purchase decisions than ever before.

The results from the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust & the Coronavirus Pandemic make for interesting reading for anyone working in the business of reputation management. The 10-country study confirms the role business must play as a source of reliable and timely information.

Trust is found to be almost as important as price right now because we are feeling personally vulnerable (81%) and we care more than ever about an organisation’s impact on society (74%).

We have taken a look at this research from a PR perspective and the findings reinforce the importance of behaviour and communication on how reputations are made or broken.

Communicate with empathy as well as facts. Expressing concern and support for those affected is paramount and should be balanced against a fact-based approach. There is no place for hyperbole and be careful with humour which is easily misinterpreted.

The most credible source is employer communications. 63% said that they would believe information from their employer versus 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media. The CEO is more credible than a social media influencer, so ensure you have media-trained senior spokespeople ready to speak out as needed.

Solve and support rather than sell. Seven out of 10 respondents stated that if they believe a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust immediately. Organisations have the opportunity to educate people and help them to connect with each other. Social media can build a sense of community and brands will need to revisit their channel strategies to ensure they are not out of step with public sentiment.

Do the right thing. 90% of respondents said they believe brands should be doing everything they can to protect their employees. 84% of respondents said they want brand communication to inform them on how the organisation is helping people cope with the pandemic. This isn’t just about short-term gains, 65% of respondents said that a brand’s response in the crisis will have a significant influence on supporting it in the future.

The key findings of the study show how the global Covid-19 crisis has accelerated people’s expectations of brands to play an active role in solving problems that arise and be advocates for change. Reputations are formed through how people perceive an organisation’s performance, behaviour and communications; what worked well six months ago will probably be out of step now. If you would like to talk to one of our PR experts about trust and your brand communications, please get in touch.



*All statistics are from the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust & the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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