2022 Edelman Trust Barometer Has Good News for Companies and CEOs

Business Seen as Most Trusted Institution, Creating Leadership Opportunities and Dangers       

1/20/22 – – Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, has issued its 22nd annual Trust Barometer research report. Online interviews with 36,000 respondents in 28 countries revealed a continuing erosion of public trust in institutions, especially government and the media, which are seen as “divisive forces in society,” feeding and exploiting a “vicious cycle of mistrust for commercial and political gain.”

Building on a trend identified in last year’s report, businesses are seen as the most trusted source of information and leadership. Edelman encourages companies and CEOs to take advantage of this enviable position, proclaiming, “Societal leadership is now a core function of business.”

When asked if businesses are “doing enough to address societal problems,” about half of all respondents felt that more effort should be directed at such issues as climate change, economic inequality, workforce re-skilling and the dissemination of trustworthy information. And 58% said they “will buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values.”

Concluding that “business needs to step up on societal issues,” Edelman CEO Richard Edelman emphasized in an interview this week that a distinction must be drawn between responsible leadership and politics, which has “incapacitated” both government and media. If CEOs taking more active roles are perceived to be political, they will suffer the same diminishment of trust. Edelman warns, “Be careful, you have not been elected to anything.”

Keeping Mr. Edelman’s caveat top of mind, the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer report is well worth reviewing. Here’s a link to the study’s Top 10 findings:

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