Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trust can't be broadcast

Trust in the banks is down. I believe the expression is 'no shit, sherlock?'

Much more interesting than the bleeding obvious to me is the accelerating collapse in trust in advertising and traditional mass media.

(Image courtesy.)

This from Edelman's 2009 Trust Barometer release:
  • Trust in nearly every type of news outlet and spokesperson is down from last year.
  • Trust in business magazines and stock or industry analyst reports—last year’s leaders— decreased from 57% to 44% and from 56% to 47%, respectively.
  • Only 13% trust corporate or product advertising—down from last year’s low of 20%.
Let's say that again. Only 13% of people trust the ads now. That's assuming they are still accepting the interruptions.

Even more staggering, the figure for the UK is down to JUST 5%!

So let's assume you overcome our studied ignorance of ads in social media. Those whose attention is snared by them (remember folks, it's a 0.01% click-thru rate), of these, only 13% (5% in the UK) trust what they see, hear and read. So they're hardly likely to act on them.

Peer-to-peer recommendation however, of the kind we see inspiring purchases of products and services every day in social networks, in conversations between friends, is not interruptive and it is trustworthy.
  • Britain trusts media less than any other of the 20 countries surveyed (30%)
  • Traditional sources of information are on the wane and at an all-time low
  • Newspapers down 10 points at 19%;
  • Radio news down 20 at 33%
  • There is a Trust Bust in conventional Corporate Comms
  • Only 5%trust corporate/ product advertising; 15% for corporate website, press releases, live speeches - Edelman Trust Barometer, UK
More reason to explore models like this.

Trust in banking and business is down because of some very unusual economic factors.

Trust in mass media is down because of something much more fundamental. We've found ways to connect one to another - there is a new model which places trust in new places - in each other, in the edge - not the centre.

Trust can't be broadcast.

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  1. the obvious, lots of room now for honesty and straight talk ..

    but i want to talk about something more subtle, and more curious to me, and that is the mindset of those who seem to be the leading-edge purveyors of the "new way" using new media ...

    i have never heard so many talking about listening, so many conversations about conversation .. twitter is a zoo of new media gurus .. the keynote speakers and report writers and book sellers and consultants around the new media thing are themselves highly deserving of being ignored ...

    there are some curious things going on in the conversation about all this stuff, that makes me look up the word "enabler" to describe all the evangelists, divas, exponents ... they are still in the old mindset of self-promotion, just using new tools ... or so it seems to me

  2. There's much to explore in what you say gregory. Perhaps even in our open-ness we see advantage for ourselves (I am the made greater by the sum of my connections, so are my connections)
    I do believe a more connected world is a better one for all. I like to think we all have moments to shine, but niche by niche, purpose by purpose, there are moments like that for all of us.
    Yes there are the self promoters, but then there are others who are promoting the ideas - that open beats closed, that going beyond silos has more value for all of us.
    Where do I stand in all this? I am a node, I am a connection. Sometimes that is helpful. That's the best I can hope for, I think?

  3. Interesting post, but I always tend to come up with the same brickwall with clients:

    "Fine, understand what you're saying about diminishing trust and peer-to-peer being important, but how do I measure success ... how do you monetise the value of peer-to-peer activity?"

    Well the media and ad agencies aren't going to be rushing to help as their models are still based on commissions from ad spend ... not leveraging the free space. So any thoughts? Is it adopting the same model as Net Promoter Score?



The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?