Trust and the Importance of Repetition

    January 25, 2011

It’s that time of year again that we can look forward to the Edelman Trust Barometer which was published today. There are some important insights for corporate communicators and I have summarised a few that caught my attention.

Do however look at the Edelman Trust Barometer website for more reports and multimedia – in fact take a look at the range of platforms they are using to make information available including – reviewing the website is a case study itself for corporate communicators or anyone publishing research.

Additional resources I am sure will be published in the weeks ahead for specific markets – I am hoping there will be an Irish report published.

The report indicates the importance of repetition – the more we hear something the more likely we are to believe it – 59% of respondents will believe the information they receive if they hear it 3-5 times. That will also apply to internal communications and reinforces the need for consistency in your communication with employees especially at times of change.


We certainly love search engines as it’s rated by the respondents of the survey to be not only the preferred first source for news about a company (29% of respondents) but also 23% of people will turn to it as their second source of information.

edelman-trust-barometer-2011-source-for news

The results on who is seen as a credible spokes person in the global study is somewhat of a surprise given just a few years ago the results indicated that the respondent reported that it was ‘a person like me’. Significantly the most credible spokespeople are seen as an academic or expert, a technical expert within the company, a financial or industry analyst followed by the CEO.


In the event that you do have a crisis the results of the survey show there is a difference in terms of who will be the most credible person to represent your company, product or service dependent on if there is impact to a local community or if you have a product recall. Overall however the preferred spokesperson is the CEO. What implications does this have for you in terms of making sure that your crisis communications team is prepared to respond as a spokesperson in the media?


What matters most in the context of corporate reputation is unsurprisingly high quality of services or products, transparent and honest business practices, being a company people can trust and how well you treat employees. With the advent of social media it’s never been easier for people to get a 360 view from friends and colleagues about how a company performs in these areas.


 You can see the summary of the global results for the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer here: 


 View more presentations from Edelman Digital.

You can watch Richard Edelman comment on how companies can build trust in this video

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