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Edelman presents 2015 annual global trust study results at SMU

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Edelman, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, presented its findings from its annual Trust Barometer global study in Umphrey Lee’s Mack Ballroom Thursday morning. The study found that trust levels in the media, business, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had decreased around the world. Meanwhile, trust in government has received a slight uptick of about 3 percent.

At least 100 students, faculty, staff and local business owners listened as Matthew Harrington, Edelman Global Chief Operating Officer, explained the study’s results.

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The study has been conducted for the past 15 years in 27 countries. Samples were taken from the informed and educated public. For the first time, two-thirds of the countries surveyed fell into the “distruster” category.

Trust in the media for news has fallen. Millennials have much more trust in search engines and digital media as a source for news than traditional media, such as television broadcast and print newspapers. 72 percent trust search engines and 59 percent trust social media while 64 percent still trust traditional media.

“What’s interesting is that trust in media in more controlled countries like China is higher than in countries like the United States,” Harrington said.

Dale Petroskey, Dallas Regional Chamber’s president and chief executive officer, added his reaction in his closing remarks.

For Petroskey, the increased trust in government in controlled regimes means that “Putin’s nationalism in Russia is working.”

For business, public trust is still slow to build. Sixteen of the 21 countries distrust business. In developed countries, big business is one of the least trusted, while family-owned businesses are trusted at 72 percent. Additionally, CEOs and government officials are the least trusted spokespersons in business.

“If we don’t trust one another, how we communicate with each other falls apart,” said Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and SMU communications professor.

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While trust in business is low, the public has slightly more trust in government to regulate the economy and business practices. This becomes more important when looking at trust in innovation.

55 percent surveyed believe that new developments are not tested enough and 51 percent think that innovation is happening too fast.

Harrington argued business can build trust in the public by being transparent in their work and make innovations that would better benefit society as a whole.

Local business owner Shaila Milbry enjoyed the presentation. Her company, LH Executive Services, provides organizational tools and systems to professionals.

“My business is all about trust,” Milbry said. “I’m working with individuals and their personal information. I was happy to learn that family-owned businesses are more trusted. It’s good for business.”

The event was presented by the Dallas Regional Chamber, Edelman, SMU Cox School of Business and the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

Take a look at Edelman’s 2015 trust study results in detail below:

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