Global Practices

Trust and the Chicago Viewpoint

Chicago Trust Concerns Rise for 2012: Internal and external experts address some of the pressing issues around trust in business, government and society at large.



The annual Edelman Chicago Trust event held on Feb. 7 generated record attendance. With more than 200 people in the audience representing business, nonprofits, academia and associations, it is clear that the intersection of trust, communication and reputation remains a hot topic for Chicago’s leading communication professionals.

In addition to Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman, featured panelists included Daniel Diermeier, Ph.D., IBM professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice at the Kellogg School of Management; Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice; and Steve Schmidt, vice chairman of Edelman Public Affairs.

A key finding this year illuminated a precipitous drop in CEO trust–the lowest we’ve recorded since the inception of the Trust study in 2001. Dr. Diermeier provided his behind-the-scenes insights on this trend line and the emerging importance of values-based leadership.

The latest data also reconfirmed that trust in the private and public sectors intertwine; people expect both businesses and government to have equal responsibility for solving tough socio-economic issues. Finally, an interesting dichotomy also emerged–even though trust in government registers at historically low levels, people still want government to enact more regulations on business. In short, people do not trust business to execute effectively and transparently important policies that preserve and protect stakeholder trust. The question remains: If not government, then who? We believe this signals an opportunity for business to seize on what we term the new “license to lead.”

Deb Fiddelke, Chicago Public Affairs senior vice president, sat down with panelist Gretchen Hamel to gain her views on how the lack of trust in government will impact the upcoming U.S. elections.

The final video attempts to answer three key questions that surfaced during the Feb. 7 luncheon.

Kevin Cook is the managing director of Chicago Corporate Communications at Edelman.

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