In booze we trust, in government we don't

In booze we trust, in government we don't

Australians trust the brewing and spirits industry more than they trust our government leaders, a new study has revealed.   

According The Trust Barometer 2013, an annual worldwide study from public relations agency Edelman, sectors of technology, food and beverage, and brewing and spirits are the three most trusted among both informed Australians and the general public.

Furthermore, academics (61%) and technical experts (58%) remain the two most credible spokespeople.

In contrast, government leaders’ credibility is low among the general public, declining four percentage points since the last study to 30%.

Only 32% of Australians trust government leaders to tell the truth – down from 38% the year before  – with over half (52%) blaming poor performance and incompetence as the primary reason for trusting government less over the past year.

According to Edelman, a much publicised leadership ballot and continued speculation about a slowing economy have led to increased skepticism about the role of NGOs, business, media and government Down Under.

Among the Australian general public, 46% do not trust business leaders to tell the truth, and only 32% believe a CEO of a company is credible source of information.

CEOs (32%) and government officials (30%) were more credible than only bloggers (15%), professional athletes (15%) and news anchors (17%).

The media and energy sectors remain the least trusted sectors. Out of 26 countries surveyed, only Turkey (less than 30%) has less trust in the media sector than Australia (34% of general population; 31% of informed publics).

However, trade publications (75%) are the most trusted source of information, while microblogging sites (25%), blogs (33%) and social networking sites (33%) are the least trusted sources of information.

Trust is down or flat in all industry sectors with year-on-year data among the Australian general population; a reverse from the global trend.

While Australians’ trust in leadership and authority figures plummeted last year, the rest of the globe’s population became more trusting.

NGOs remain the most trusted institution globally posting trust levels above 50% in 23 of 26 countries – four of the five top markets are in Asia (China 81 %, Malaysia 76% Hong Kong 76%, Singapore 75%). Trust in Australia is at 64% this year.

While media was the least trusted sector among Australians, banks and financial services were the least trusted sectors across the globe. Only 52% of informed publics and 49% of the general population trust banks to do what is right. Less than one in three Europeans trust banks or financial services companies.

More than one in two people globally (56%) say they were aware of last year’s banking and financial services scandals with 59% saying the cause of those scandals was behavior, specifically corruption, poor corporate culture or conflicts with interest.

Ben Boyd, global practice chair, corporate, Edelman, said:  “Innovative products and services, as well as strong operations, are now seen as fundamental competencies that everyone expects companies to exhibit, while engagement- and integrity-based attributes are the new critical success factors for today’s most trusted institutions.

"More Australians believe companies can build trust by listening to customer needs and feedback (67%) than they can by offering high-quality products (65%) or delivering consistent financial returns to investors (35%).”

Michelle Hutton, chief executive of Edelman Australia said:  “There is a new dynamic emerging where conversations are informed by an ever increasing array of sources, where it’s no longer ok  to rely on a single spokesperson and a single message to engage with people. Eighty per cent of Australians reported they need to hear or see something about a company 3-5 times in order to believe the information is likely to be true.”

The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and is the firm’s 13th annual trust and credibility survey.

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