Hot on the heels of my recent blog “Corpses, Corruption and the Chaos of Everyday Life in Moscow,” on Russia’s international PR problem, comes the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer Emerging Markets Supplement. An add-on to Edelman’s leading annual research, this online survey in nine countries, both developed and emerging, highlights with no great surprise that Russian national companies have a distinct trust and reputation problem.
Along with China, Russia’s MNCs face the largest trust hurdles when it comes to perception in the developed markets – not even reaching 30 percent. They do fare, however, somewhat better in other emerging markets. Reasoning ranges from low brand familiarity, lack of CEO visibility, to significant sensitivity to “too much” state control. The perception is that Russian businesses have too close ties to their national governments, in whom the majority do not trust.
The tables were turned last week when Vladimir Putin was seen to broker a solution to the Syria chemical weapons crisis. Regardless of the about-face in leadership perception, the fact remains that high level diplomacy does not fundamentally change Russia as an investment case or the issues that plague its MNCs. In the end, Russia is judged by its actions… not by its words.
Kerry Irwin is the general director of Edelman Russia & CIS and is based in Moscow.
Image by Jedimentat44.