The institutions of government, media, and business have seen a massive shift in trust from the general public in the past few years. Media and government especially suffered in 2017 and 2018. While the Edelman Trust Barometer, a comprehensive global survey of trust, indicates that trust numbers for businesses are slightly up in 2019, they still aren’t stellar. People are changing where they put their faith. How will that affect you, and what can you do about it? Here are 3 trends to keep in mind as you move forward in 2019.
1. It’s time to step up and fill the void.
While confidence in most institutions is at a critical low, trust in employers is at an unprecedented high. People have lost faith in government and the media to do what’s right, so they are turning to CEOs and leadership to steer them in the right direction. There is an outcry for change, and employees believe their leaders can be the agents of change. It is more important now than ever to clearly define a mission and maintain a dialogue with employees around that mission.
Showing you care and acting on their feedback contributes to how they’ll perceive your performance. The Edelman surveys show that perception of high performance and trust lead to much higher levels of loyalty and engagement within a company. As engaged employees have proven to have a positive effect on customer interactions, it’s no surprise that high trust organizations are out-performing their sectors by an average of 5%. Listen and lead. Your employees expect a lot of you, and now is the time to make a difference.
2. Documentaries are more popular than ever.
That’s right, docs are rockin’ it. Viewership and money in documentaries have skyrocketed, and it’s a trend worth noting. Why? Because it’s another potential symptom of the trust crisis. When government and mainstream media are no longer standards of truth, people look elsewhere for true north. Much like people choosing CEOs over politicians for change, so it seems that viewers are flooding to the documentary format for reliable news and information.
This means a couple of things for your business. If your advertising seems overproduced, off-message, or manipulative, it can drive customers away. As they ditch the flamboyant and flashy for the sincere and instructional, so too will they shy away from messaging that aligns itself with untrustworthy stylings of the media.
Branding may need a tweak as well in order to maintain trust. Documentaries famously depict humanity, champion causes, and provide transparency throughout a narrative. There are lessons to be learned here. Focus on your company culture and the people who make it great, employees and customers alike. Put it on display; success stories, testimonials, and published reviews are a great start. Demonstrate also a dedication to the community or a cause that is in line with your mission statement. Starting a conversation with your employees and customers about what’s important to your business and being open about the steps you’re taking is key to earning trust.
3. Positivity over politics.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. If you’re espousing some sort of cause or message, steer clear of politics unless it’s a social cause that is central to your brand mission. As divisive as politics have been in the last few years, taking a firm side one way or another has left the nation fatigued. Also, using ads and marketing that focus on negative aspects of competitors or the opportunity costs of not choosing your brand can scare off customers. It’s a stance that has politics written all over it, and this type of positioning has lost credibility with the constant bitterness portrayed in the media. People are starving for change, so give it to them.
Remain positive. Focus on what you do and why you do it well. Focus on your employees and why they make your company a great place to be. Cherish your customer relationships and show prospects the future you can build together. In a world filled with anger and resentment, be the friendly neighbor everyone is looking for.