How much do people really trust companies and governments?

The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer shows the largest-ever gap between trust in business and government (since they began the study 14 years ago).

Globally, business has a 14-point trust advantage over government. In more than half from the 27 nations surveyed, business has a significant trust advantage.

In this complex environment, almost half of the public wants greater government regulation of business. This is especially true in less-trusted industries such as financial services, or in geographies that face scrutiny. Businesses now have not only the permission to engage on development regulation, but are expected to do so.

8 in 10 respondents believe business has a role in developing regulations. Edelman believes that businesses should support regulation in partnership with government and other key stakeholders such as NGOs, which are consistently the most trusted of all institutions.

But business still has work to do, as trust in the institution remains low. Just over half of our global respondents trust institution at all and some markets like the US, Singapore and Mexico experienced significant declines and trust me institution. There are four factors that shape trust in business, and within them some trends to observe:

Technology remains the most trusted industry, while financial services remains the least. Small medium and family owned enterprises tend to be more trusted than big business, and state-owned enterprises suffer from lack of trust globally.

We continue to see a crisis of trust in the leadership in business, with 1 in 5 people trusting a business leader to tell the truth, and CEOs having low credibility compared to other potential spokespeople.

In order to build trust, CEOs must embrace transparent communications and engage key stakeholders such as employees and NGOs. Protecting consumer data, respecting employee rights, and managing a responsible supply chain are 3 behaviors that will have a positive impact on public perceptions, improve the business’ integrity, and therefore build trust.

Trust has always driven action enable successful long-term relationships. Edelman says that now, trust and businesses must go one step further and create the contacts for positive widespread change.

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