For companies looking to build or restore trust, the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer offers insights on the path forward. In 2012 we identified 16 attributes that build trust. We measure these attributes against both how important they are to building trust in business and how business is perceived as performing against each.
The level of importance assigned to each of the 16 Edelman Trust Barometer attributes by Informed Publics remained largely the same over the past year. Stated performance of business showed a slight increase in many of these attributes. In grouping the attributes into the five performance clusters and plotting them in quadrants along the axes of stated importance and stated performance, it’s clear how companies can move the trust needle in the coming year.
The upper left quadrant shows where business is perceived to be under performing on attributes of high importance to stakeholders. In 2013, we noted the dramatic shift since 2008 in stated importance of the 16 attributes to reflect a greater emphasis on engagement and integrity attributes. The 2014 results reinforce this prioritization and show that business has left trust opportunities on the table over the past year.
Operational excellence, purpose and products and services attributes continue to be ranked toward the bottom of the list for building trust in business. Now table stakes, stated performance ratings indicate companies are generally meeting expectations on these clusters by generating consistent financial returns and being seen to be innovating.