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The New Landscape of Information: 3 Consequences of the Trust Disparity

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. 

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