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Trust Plunges in the United States While Resilient Across the Globe

NEW YORK Jan. 25, 2011 Brazil Germany China India The United States Russia

Richard Edelman

When a company is distrusted at the outset, more than one-half (57 percent) globally will believe negative information about it after hearing the information just once or twice.  Only 15 percent will believe positive information about the distrusted company after hearing it one or two times.  In key Western nations like the U.S. and the UK, approximately one-quarter (23 and 27 percent, respectively) say they need to hear something six or more times to believe it, twice as many as two years ago. In the U.S., 14 percent need to hear information 10 or more times to believe it.

"Trust has transformed the license to operate for business," said Edelman.  "Company actions must deliver on the expectation for a collaborative approach that benefits society – not just shareholders, transparency about how it makes money, and communication in surround-sound through all forms of media – from mainstream to new to social to owned."


The Barometer finds a flight to credentialed spokespersons, with academics and technical experts as most credible and a "person like me" and regular employees least credible. CEOs now rank among the top credible spokespeople globally – a striking rise from two years ago when they were in the bottom two. Fifty percent say CEOs are credible spokespeople about a company, a 19-point increase over 2009.  By contrast, a "person like me," dropped four points globally since 2009, falling from the top three – replacing CEOs in the bottom two.  In the U.S., a "person like me" declined precipitously since 2006 (68 percent to 31 percent) among 35-64 year olds.

China Brazil

Neal Flieger


Germany Canada Sweden Switzerland China Brazil India Brazil United Arab Emirates Brazil Brazil Indonesia Japan Singapore

Other key findings of the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer include:

  • To re-earn trust when faced with a crisis, safeguarding customers and employees is the top-ranked action at 92 percent, followed closely by transparent and open communication about the extent of the crisis and honest and frequent communication from the CEO about repair efforts (90 percent each).  Both actions outrank protecting the financial stability of the company (83 percent). Justifying what caused the crisis and keeping information private to minimize damage to the company are at the bottom of the list (52 percent and 47 percent, respectively).
  • Business is more trusted than government in one-third of the 23 countries surveyed.
  • Russia
  • China India China India
  • In the last 12 months, 85 percent of respondents report they have bought the products or services of a company they trusted; conversely, 73 percent say they refused to buy products or services from one they did not trust.

About the Edelman Trust Barometer

October 11 November 28, 2010 France Germany January 3-13, 2011

About Edelman


Latraviette D. Smith


[email protected]

SOURCE Edelman

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