3 important findings from this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer

These findings might make you nervous, but don’t panic—there’s a silver lining around all the clouds.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer is a fantastic resource each year. It’s usually full of great content many people use in blogs, e-newsletters and client recommendations throughout the year.

If you read this year’s report, though, you might think the world is coming to an end.

Don’t worry. It isn’t. In fact, I would argue that it should make you feel pretty darn good about your work.

In a few spots, at least:

1. Trust in executives is at an all-time low, but trust in “people like me” is at an all-time high.

Sure, it’s not great news that the masses no longer trust executives, but that’s been a long time coming. What’s more striking is the fact that “people like me” are trusted, which is good news for corporate communicators. Think about it-what is one audience that communicators frequently use to reach the employee masses? Managers, who are “people like me.” We’ve been communicating via mid-level managers for years, and they are frequently one of the most effective communications channels.

2. Media are trusted less and less.

So, the news media are trusted by fewer people than at any time in recorded history? Actually, this statistic is only down three percentage points since 2012.

But while that’s not so great on multiple levels, it’s not the worst news. Brands have had access to all sorts of publishing tools for years, allowing them to tell their stories directly to consumers without going through the media. And according to the Trust Barometer, trust in “owned media channels” is actually up two points from 2012 to 2017. For those who have been investing in corporate blogs, podcasts and other owned media, don’t worry. You are just fine.

3. Employees are the most trusted people to deliver messages.

When it comes to financial performance and operational performance, 38 percent of survey participants said they’d trust an employee, but just 20 percent said they’d trust the CEO. That’s shocking, considering how many employees are clueless about how to read a financial statement.

What about in times of crisis? Thirty-seven percent of participants trust an employee, while just 21 percent trust the chief exec. These stats are alarming, but they also provide an opportunity for communicators: to educate our rank-and-file employees on issues from financial performance to business goals to crisis situations. Again-it’s something we’ve been doing for quite a while. It’s just time to up our game.

What about you? Any thoughts on the relatively recent Edelman Trust Barometer?

A version of this article originally appeared on Communications Conversations.

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