As we all know, the last few years have taken a toll on our trust in information. This reality has implications for marketing and communications professionals in every industry.

Since 2000, the Edelman Trust Barometer has endeavored to understand the factors and trends influencing public trust in four main societal institutions: Business, Government, Media and NGOs. We have been fans of this work and utilize the findings in our discussions with clients when discussing the environment in which their marketing and communications strategy comes to life.

The 2021 Trust Barometer addressed the matter of disinformation, sharing two headline insights:

  • 76% of respondents are worried that “Fake News” or false information is being weaponized
  • Only 35% of respondents trust owned media, including social media posts, websites and other media generated by companies or organizations about themselves.

The reality of this current state of information bankruptcy requires that we lead with facts, act with empathy, and provide trustworthy content which is unbiased and reliable.

The study also revealed a perceived mandate that businesses act on a social agenda and further found that 92% of employees believe CEOs must speak out on issues such as DEI, climate change, immigration, and the ethical use of tech; 74% of employees believe CEOs should take the lead on social issues (versus the government or media); and 62% of employees believe they have the power to force their companies to change how they operate.

This employee activism is interesting in the context of how consumers view their role in social change…with 64% of consumers describing themselves as “belief-driven buyers” who will choose, switch, and avoid brands based on the brand’s stance on societal issues.  It’s noteworthy that this is a significant increase from the 51% of consumers that labeled themselves “belief-driven buyers” in the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Given this backdrop, the world has never needed your reliable communications, your authentic stories or your opportunities for true participation and connection more than right now.  You have an opportunity to make an outsized difference in the individual lives of your current and prospective students, clients, contributors, colleagues and community members.

In the spirit of helping all the Storytellers, we are delighted to be launching a two-part Storytelling Course, which will include much more about the impact of trust on communications.  The June 2021 sessions will be delivered via Zoom and are filled with South Florida examples and all the action steps needed to take your Storytelling to the next level.

So, do you and your organization need to become better Storytellers? YES!

And, will Storytelling help your organization or favorite nonprofit accomplish marketing, engagement, and development objectives in pursuit of purpose and mission? YES!