A Matter of Trust

The oft-stated goal of every professional services provider is to be a trusted advisor. But trust is a fragile thing, hard won and easily damaged. For the past several years, PR giant Edelman has published its Trust Barometer, a snapshot of how institutions are faring in the global trust sweepstakes. According to the 2011 report, when a company is trusted 51% of an informed public will believe positive information after hearing the information 1-2 times, while 25% will believe negative information - as contrasted with the 57% who will believe negative information about a company that is not trusted. In terms of reputation, respondents rated “company I can trust” at the top of the most important factors they consider, tied with “transparent and honest business practices” and just behind “high quality products or services”. Other findings, not surprisingly, include sobering news for financial institutions and the increasing importance of aligning profit and social benefit. Being trustworthy isn't just a emotional reward; it's good business.

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