Trust between any organisation and its key stakeholders is vital for you to have any kind of meaningful relationship.

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer provides global and national overviews of how trust between people and their governments, business and different groups in society has changed in the previous 12 months.

The findings of the UK report provide some useful data and insights for SMEs.

Here are the key points you need to know and what actions you can take to improve your trust with key stakeholder groups.

Trust in National Media dropped

After initially going up at the start of the pandemic, it soon slipped and has almost halved since.

So if you want key messages to be believed, national media aren’t the best channel choice, despite their larger reach.

Local News

Where it comes to local news, there’s a split on trust.

In a poll of 2,000 adults by Opinium, only 31% said they’d trust local news that came from a news organisation based outside their area, while 55% said they wouldn’t – a negative trust rating of 24%.

By contrast, almost twice as many people (58%) said they’d trust local news from an organisation that was based in the area, versus 31% who said they wouldn’t – a positive trust rating of +27%.

ACTION POINT: When communicating key trust-related messages about local issues, use your Owned channels and only local media (an Earned channel) as well as other trusted Earned channels (e.g. local Chamber of Commerce) and your Shared channels – to gain maximum trust and acceptance of your messages.

Stakeholder Concerns

This year’s Edelman survey highlighted three areas of particular concern to the public:

The cost of living

53% said their biggest concern was the rise in living costs.

ACTION POINT: talk about what proactive measures you’re taking to help your key stakeholders.

Climate change impacts

Second highest concern was the impact of climate change, at 26%.

ACTION POINT: talk about what your organisation is doing internally on sustainability and to help others outside too.

The inequality gap

The growing divide between the rich and poor in the UK was third, at 25%.

ACTION POINT: talk about what your organisation is doing internally to help reduce any executive-staff wage gap and to help reduce inequality in the communities you interact with.

Other areas to note:

Beliefs & Values driving decisions

Stakeholders reporting basic decisions on their beliefs and values and how brands and organisations act in relation to those.

ACTION POINT: talk about your organisation’s purpose and values which match those of target audiences.

People want to see action on societal issues from business

ACTION POINT: communicate what you’re doing already and plan to do in future.

CEOs fronting societal debate

A majority of respondents wanted to see CEOs speaking about changes in society and where their organisation stands.

ACTION POINT: lead from the front as your organisation’s spokesperson on societal issues affecting stakeholders.

Family more important since Covid began

Understandably, people say their families are more important compared with work than before the pandemic.

ACTION POINT: ensure your policies support staff in giving more time to their families and communicate what you’re doing externally as well as internally.