One of the things that we as public relations professionals need to be aware of is who people are trusting these days. Are they more likely to be following the advice of someone that is a paid celebrity endorser? Or are they more likely to be more willing to change their behavior and attitudes if they hear a message from someone like them (ex. family member, friends, etc.) Also, what is the perception of specific industries – are there some industries that are more trustworthy than others? Well, if you have some questions similar to these, you can find the answers. Edelman, one of the well-known and prestigious public relations firms, has released their annual findings of their Edelman Trust Barometer. On the site, you can download the executive summary, methodology, and videos about the Edelman Trust Barometer.
There were definitely some interesting findings in the study – including how profitability is not always the key to trust. While money is definitely important for customers and other stakeholders of companies, what people are looking for today is to establish a long term relationship with brands and companies that they trust. As Brian Solis points out, the currency today is relationships.
We as public relations professionals and researchers need to not only know who people are trusting these days, but how we are perceive as well. Actually, one of the findings from this year is that one of the leading group of individuals that people are trusting more in 2010 are academic professionals! :) Woo hoo – go us! :) There are many reasons for this in my point of view. First, academics are actively conducting research in the field and discovering new elements and phenomena in the public relations environment. They are conducting interviews, focus groups, surveys, and experiments to find out what are the relationships between each construct that they are studying in the field. Second, most academic professionals are also doing some consulting on the side. Most of my professors at the University of Southern California were still active and practicing in Public Relations – and the same goes to my professors at the University of Florida and University of Tennessee. Some are working still for PR firms, while others are doing their own consulting. This allows them to keep up to date with what is being implemented in the field currently as well as seeing how various campaigns are being launched. Finally, academics are also active in the classroom teaching future public relations professionals. They are able to communicate with students about the current practices and knowledge in public relations, and be always a life long learner.
So – in summary, academic professionals are viewed as trustworthy for their knowledge in conducting thorough research, being up to date with the latest trends and practices in the field, and being able to evolve and learn in and out of the classroom.
Hope you all are having a great day!