by Tim Dewald

March 2, 2021

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer was released in January. If you aren’t familiar, it is a massive survey that seeks to measure public trust in government, media, business and NGOs around the world. The results – well, they aren’t great! The headline is a massive erosion of trust in institutions across the globe with survey results for each group hitting historic lows.

Okay, that’s the bad news and sure – it’s pretty bad! But before you go buy land in New Zealand to bury your survival bunker, there are a few important takeaways for those occupying the C-suite. Among them:

  • Business is now seen as the only institution that is both competent and ethical.
  • 86% of those surveyed believe corporate executives should be speaking out on important societal issues.
  • 76% of respondents trust their own employer and find their employer’s “owned media” the most trustworthy of any news resource.

Presented with this, you should be asking yourself a few questions.

Am I doing enough to communicate with my employees?

If the monthly newsletter is coming out quarterly, or not at all, it might be time to reexamine your internal communications. If it’s been a while, you may want to take a moment to understand the best ways to engage with employees. Maybe it’s time to incorporate new tools such as Slack or Yammer, or revamp an old newsletter by incorporating video or live Q&As with company leaders. Finding out the ways your employees would like to receive updates can be just as critical as the message itself.

Am I going a good job addressing important issues?

Given how quickly the world is moving, probably not. In 2020, we grappled with a lot of challenging issues that need to be addressed now, not later. If you aren’t capturing the stories and initiatives being undertaken to make an impact, it’s impossible to relay them to a larger audience. If you’re ready to do this through a formal ESG report, we can help you get started or help you make sense of the way reporting has changed, especially in light of the events of 2020.

Am I ready to handle the scrutiny?

Talking a bold stance on issues of national importance is understandably a difficult decision for many companies and executive teams. Unfortunately, when the situation demands it, there often isn’t time for a lot of reflection. That’s why it’s important to get your house in order now. Understand the key talking points, iron out any concerns your immediate team or other stakeholders may have now, so you’re ready when the time comes. This is the main goal of our media training exercises; not only to get you comfortable in front of the camera, but with your own talking points as well. And there are always other ways to express thought leadership on issues throughout the year, with or without a big media interview.

Stakeholders are interested in what your company thinks about important issues—be ready to communicate in a way that educates and inspires. If you’d like to talk more about this, or fortified vacation homes for the ultra-rich, feel free to give me a ring.