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I was one of 100 people to attend the presentation of the findings from Edelman’s 2012 Trust Barometer survey yesterday. This annual global survey takes the pulse of trust in business, institutions, and industries. It was a conversation between Richard Edelman, CEO, and my longtime contact David Armano, who’s now Edelman’s Executive VP of Digital Innovation.

This year’s survey saw drops in trust of the “big boys” — government officials and CEOs paramount among them.

My takeaways:

  • Consumers trust companies that listen to them. This means empowering average employees to share the message and listen, not just senior management.
  • Corporate reputation and brand reputation are now intimately linked.
  • Younger employees often drive change in organizations, showing their companies how to listen and educating them about digital literacy.
  • Media is more trusted than ever — both “big” media and social media.
  • CEOs: to foster trust, be a real person, tell stories about people. Transparency is key, and give yourself and your employees permission to fail. Why doesn’t this happen now? The Edelman folks posited that the higher an employees are within an organization, the more lawyers get involved. At that point, they need to ask themselves a question: Which poses a bigger risk — communicating, or not communicating?

In my book, and I think the trust survey agrees, it’s better to communicate honestly.

To learn more, see the stream of Tweets from this event and similar ones held in other cities across the globe.

(It was also a great event — wonderful space, good food, and lots of folks to connect/reconnect with. Thanks to Social Media Club for arranging and promoting it!)

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