4 Golden Nuggets from the Edelman Trust Barometer

If #PRisEverything, trust is everything to PR. At its core, public relations aims to earn an audience's trust. Trust can be earned in a very straightforward way, by placing on your local newspaper's "Best of X" list. It can also be more indirect, for example, by launching a social media campaign encouraging users to share their experiences with your brand.Each year, global PR firm Edelman conducts a global "Trust Barometer" to better understand the state of society's trust in various industries. This study asks more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries how much they trust the four institutions of government, business, nongovernmental organization and media to do what is right.Here are some of the study's key findings from 2016, its 16th year:

Trust GapEdelman found a widening trust gap between the elite and mass populations. In the elite group-those with college degrees and incomes in the top 25 percent-trust is on the rise. Among the greater population, however, trust levels have hardly moved since the Great Recession.

Importance of BusinessBusinesses were found to be the most trusted of the four bodies measured. Eighty percent of respondents agreed that business must lead to solve problems, and the United States identified healthcare as the most important issue for business to address.

Authority is Not InfluenceEdelman found that respondents no longer rely on a handful of authority figures for news and information. Instead, they get it from search engines, TV and social media. In fact, people said they found a person "like themselves" to be more credible than CEOs and government officials.

Role of LeadershipSociety expects leadership to focus more on their company's sustainability in the world around them, and less on their company's short-term financial future. Eight out of ten respondents agreed CEOs should be visible in discussing societal issues. Half the respondents named a failure to contribute to the greater good as a reason for losing trust in a business.

Do these results surprise you? How do you think the Columbus Trust Study results compare? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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