For the 15th time, global PR firm Edelman released its annual “Trust Barometer”, a global study on trust and reputation in different areas. It’s the first time they constitute a decline of trust in all surveyed areas: government, business, media and NGOs. One explanation might be the emergence of several global crises in 2014 such as Ebola in Western Africa, air accidents and data breaches.
End of recovery in business
For business, Edelman sees the “end of an era of recovery” after the Great Recession as in 16 of 27 countries trust in business is decreasing. In the majority of countries trust in business is now below 50%. What is more, over the past 12 months they detect a decline in trust in all for factors influencing trust in business. These are industry sector, enterprise type, country of origin and leadership.
Confirmation of “Country-of-origin effect”
Let’s have a closer look on one of these factors: country-of-origin. Respondents of the survey were asked to estimate their trust in companies headquartered in different countries (“How much do you trust global companies headquartered in the following countries to do what is right?”). As in previous years, global enterprises having their headquarters in the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, China) remain among the less trusted, with trust levels between 34% and 38%. Companies from Canada, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, which are the leaders in this respect, enjoy trust levels above 70%. This is another empirical confirmation for the so-called “Country-of-origin effect: Consumers have a relative preference or aversion for products, depending on the products’ country of origin.
Trust challenge for developing countries
Another finding is that it is particularly hard for companies headquartered in developing countries to do business in developed countries. Only 22% of the so-called informed publics from developed countries trust such a company. In developing countries this rate is at 57%.
About the survey
Research firm Edelman Berland carried out online interviews among 33,000 general population respondents from 27 countries including an oversample of 6,000 informed publics. The informed publics belong to the best-informed, best-educated and highest-earning respondents in their respective countries. All survey results can be accessed here: http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer/
If you are interested in further discussions on that topic, please join the LinkedIn group “Country of Origin Branding” (COOB).