We’ve been engaged in an ongoing exploration of the state of consumer trust (which has recently reached record lows) and how brands can reverse the trend. Today’s consumers, empowered by technology to choose from a wide range of products and to interact with brands on an unprecedented level, prize authenticity, engagement, and social responsibility. It’s a tall order for brands that previously focused solely on selling a solution to a problem.
Marketing in 2017 is about more than solutions – it requires establishing a brand identity that resonates with many various subsets of our increasingly fractured culture. And as the demographics of consumer groups continue to change, brands must emphasize diversity but transcend tokenism. Does it all make your head spin? It all comes down to trust – whether or not consumers believe that your brand has their best interests at heart. Continue Reading
One of the prevailing themes of 2017 so far has been the erosion of public trust in our key institutions. The Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual global study conducted by a respected communications marketing firm, confirms what many of us have felt: “trust is in crisis around the world.” For the first time since 2012, the public’s trust in government, business, media, and NGOs has declined significantly.
While there is a complex web of cause and effect that has culminated in a large-scale erosion of trust in these institutions, the end result is clear – a populace that is increasingly divided and suspicious of news, marketing, and media messaging. In the era of “fake news,” PR and marketing professionals must examine their methods and recalibrate their strategy in order to reach the general public in an authentic and credible way. But how? Continue Reading
Recent Nielsen data confirms a seismic shift that is occurring in the demographics of American consumers. First released in 2015, Nielsen’s report on The Multicultural Edge revealed that multicultural consumers are “the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.” While Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and other multicultural groups currently make up around 40% of the population, they are on track to be a numeric majority by 2044.
This young and growing segment of the consumer population is already driving changing trends in groceries and beverages and is poised to greatly impact markets such as technology, entertainment, and fashion and beauty as well. This segment of consumers offers an exciting opportunity and a challenge for today’s brand-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. How will we respond? Continue Reading
Early each year, leading global communications and marketing firm Edelman releases the results of their Trust Barometer survey. The Edelman Trust Barometer is the culmination of a global study of consumer trust in four key institutions – business, government, NGOs, and media. The newest iteration, conducted in 28 countries and encompassing more than 33,000 respondents, places a finger on the pulse of consumers across the world.
Would you be surprised to hear that in 2017 Edelman finds that “trust is in crisis around the world”? For the first time since they began tracking these metrics, “the majority of respondents now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them.” What might be at the root of this global decline in trust in our key institutions? How can we begin to rebuild consumer trust in an authentic and sustainable manner? Continue Reading
This past Saturday, March 4th, 2017, was the 220th anniversary of the first transition of presidential power in the United States. I first became aware of this historic significance through the email newsletter of Rev. Tom Are, Jr., the pastor at Village Presbyterian Church. Shortly after the conclusion of our long and combative 2016 presidential campaign and election, Tom thoughtfully wrote,
“On March 4, 1797, a remarkable thing occurred in human history. John Adams became the second president of the United States. What was noteworthy on that day was the lack of violence. It was not a coup. It was not a violent overthrow. It was the peaceful transition of power. The peaceful transition of power remains a rare and beautiful thing in this world. It also means that whether grateful or grieving, we do not need to be afraid. Whether you are relieved or grieved, we are in this together. Be grateful for the peaceful transition of power and as always continue living toward God’s promised day.”
We’ve been seeing some heartening numbers on unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which currently places the unemployment rate at a very low 4.9%. However, while this number demonstrates substantial economic recovery since the Great Recession of 2008, overall public opinion isn’t so optimistic. In fact, Rasmussen Reports reveals that only 31% of Americans feel that the country is “heading in the right direction,” and this number has been significantly low for several years now.
While economic struggles and unemployment are only a part of the problems facing American workers, they’re a large driver of general discontent. I’m sure we all know someone who is struggling to find the caliber of work they would prefer or to find a job at all, and the stress this places on individuals and families is enormous. With unemployment rates so low, why might this be the case? Continue Reading
If you're joining us for the second installment of our series on the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, you understand there are a few key elements of today's society that are contributing to the growing trust disparity between the “informed” and “mass” populations. As Richard Edelman sums up,
“Trust is rising in the elite or “informed public” group – those with at least a college education, who are very engaged in media, and have an income in the top 25 percent. However, in the 'mass population' (the remaining 85 percent of our sample), trust levels have barely budged since the Great Recession.”
As it currently sits, the trust gap difference between the informed public and the masses is nearly 19 percent. When these views become the norm – when the staggering majority accepts skepticism as a consumer mindset and cynicism as a political platform – consequences arise. To quote Holly Green, CEO and managing director of The Human Factor, in an article in Forbes,
“Putting our collective cynicism aside, this pervasive lack of trust represents a leadership crisis of staggering proportions. When we don’t believe that our business and political leaders tell the truth, it sets in motion a tidal wave of negative attitudes and ways of thinking and behaving that gets in the way of achieving our goals.”
Though you might have a “so what” reaction to the idea that large portions of the population have diminished trust in government and business, we're now seeing that trust levels have a measurable impact on how our society functions and how consumers interact with businesses. And this impact demonstrates that trust is a must for businesses to cultivate.