Edelman’s Trust Research
In this 50th interview (and 51st episode) for TrustTalk, we talk with Tonia Ries, Executive Director of Global Thought Leadership, the Edelman Trust Institute, New York. For more than 20 years Edelman has been publishing the Edelman Trust Barometer on the status of trust in four institutions: business, government, NGOs, and media.
Tonia talks about GenZ and their predilection for employment values and societal roles of their employers, spreading their influence on Western culture and views on the role of trust. Recent trust research shows an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world, a failing trust ecosystem unable to confront the infodemic, leaving the four institutions—in an environment of information bankruptcy and a mandate to rebuild trust and chart a new path forward. Recent research shows that governments are not seen as competent, nor ethical. Rather businesses are more trusted increasingly being asked to take on responsibilities that historically have been responsibilities for governments.
She talks about exciting new opportunities when it comes to trust research. The interview concludes with Tonia’s vision of the main challenges of trust research. She talks about stakeholder capitalism and the debate as to who should the primary stakeholder of business be.
The Battle of Seattle
Tonia speaks during the interview about “the Battle of Seattle”. This refers to the Seattle WTO protests of 1999, in full Seattle World Trade Organization protests of 1999, also called Battle of Seattle, a series of marches, direct actions, and protests carried out from November 28 through December 3, 1999, that disrupted the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington. Comprising a broad and diffuse coalition of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and other labor unions, student groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), media activists, international farm and industrial workers, anarchists, and others, the Seattle WTO protests are often viewed as the inauguration of the antiglobalization movement.
Edelman published several studies in 2022:
- 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer (Released January 2022): Edelman’s main study, produced over the past 22 years, which is focused on analyzing trust in institutions: business, government, NGOs, and media. This year’s report was focused on the Cycle of Distrust, fueled by a growing lack of faith in media and government and resulting in a growing expectation on business to address societal problems.
- 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: The Geopolitical Business (Released May 2022): Launched in May at Davos, this Edelman report found that geopolitics is now a priority issue for businesses to take a stand on, in addition to existing societal issues. We also found that overwhelmingly, CEOs are now expected to shape policy on societal and geopolitical issues.
- 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: The New Cascade of Influence (Released June 2022): This is Edelman’s sixth annual report on trust in brands and set out to understand how emerging expectations of consumers intersect with generational change. For the first time, we’ve included a supplemental deep dive into youth (age 14-17). The research covers a range of topics but found that Gen Z especially is feeling a sense of responsibility and urgency and have an outsized influence on the behavior of older generations and on the converging expectations for brands and business.
For the full transcript of the interview with Tonia Ries:Transcript-interview-Tonia-Ries_FIN_30082022
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