Brands must re-evaluate capitalism and do more good

By Rosie Baker | 23 January 2014

Brands must integrate doing good for society into their business strategy to shore up for the future, according to Edelman's global report into brand trust.

The PR consultancy, which publishes the Trust Barometer annually, is calling for CEOs to take on the role of 'chief engagement officer' to drive a top-down re-evaluation of what business stands for and educate the public about the economic, societal, political and environmental context in they operate.

The majority of respondents (84%) believe business can pursue self-interest and revenue growth at the same time as doing good for society.

Ben Boyd, Edelman's global practice chair of corporate, said: “It’s the responsibility of business to redefine and re-prioritise the way it thinks about value. Today’s world requires a shift from the historic, transactional nature of capitalism to a model of value creation that encompasses societal benefit as well as shareholder value."

While trust in business globally fell again this year to 54%, Edelman says it has stabilised in the last year. Australia bucked the trend and was one of nine countries to report an increase in trust in business from 43% last year to 56% – marginally higher than the global score.

Integrity-based attributes including treating employees well (59%), listening to customers (59%) and having ethical and transparent practices (56%) gained importance for consumers.

Trust in CEOs plateaued, and while trust has somewhat recovered to 43% up from 31% last year, CEOs are still the second least credible spokesperson – only marginally ahead of government officials.

The report, published this week, claims technology brands (79%) are the most trusted globally, followed by automotive (70%).

Banks (51%) are the least trusted brands, particularly in European countries where the economic crisis hit hardest.

Local findings of the Edelman report are due to be published on 31 January, although you can see some of the findings exclusively in this week's cover feature. AdNews took an in-depth look at what it means for brands to be trusted by consumers and how it plays a vital part in the long-term health and financial success of a brand. Pick up AdNews today or download the iPad edition. 

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