Experts are most trusted, says Edelman’s Trust Barometer
Trust saw some big changes in 2011:
- Trust in credentialed experts (70%) and company technical specialists (64%) is on the rise. It’s the “Authority Rule” of persuasion.
- Trust in “a person like myself” and regular employees has declined, possibly because of “over-friending.”
- People need to hear messages three to five times to change behavior.
- To stand out and build trust, communicators need to communicate across several spheres of media.
Or so says the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual study of global opinion leaders.
People are most likely to trust:
- Credentialed experts — 70%, up 8% over 2011
- Company technical specialists — 64%
They’re least likely to trust regular employees, who are down to 34% from 42% in 2006.
Bottom line: Identify your internal experts
and showcase their expertise in your marketing materials.
Breach of trust
“Over the last several years there’s been a decline in trust in ‘a person like myself,'” writes Steve Rubel, senior vice president and director of insights for Edelman Digital.
Some 47% said they trust this group, which is down from 68% in 2006.
“I believe the reason for this is that, as more of us join social networks, there’s been a devaluation in the entire concept of ‘friendship,'” Rubel writes. “A separate survey found that people don’t know 20 percent of their Facebook friends. Consider that ‘unfriend’ was Oxford’s word of the year for 2009.”
Bottom line: Don’t rely on individual employees
or “a person like me” to make your case.
Break through the clutter.
People need to hear things three to five times from three to five sources before it sinks in, Edelman’s data shows. In the most developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, that number is even higher — a staggering nine times or more.
Bottom line: Get the word out with multiple impressions.
Communicate across the cloverlead.
Repeat your message across multiple media formats — mainstream, new, owned and social — to get heard, the Edelman study suggests.
And don’t rely on advertising to get the job done: It’s the least trusted form of communication, according to the study.
Bottom line: Communicate across diverse media sources to be heard.
Source: Steve Rubel, “A Devaluation Of ‘Friends’ May Be Driving Trust In Thought Leaders,” Steve Rubel blog, 2011