How to Build Trust in Business: 2015 Trust Barometer Breakfast in Calgary

By Amanda Ducheminsky

Blog icon Edelman

Blog icon Edelman

Edelman Photo Final

Edelman Photo Final

On Thursday, Feb. 26, Edelman PR presented its 2015 Trust Barometer research study results. JS Daw & Associates attended the event hosted by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce at the Delta Bow in Calgary.In this blog, We break down the presentation’s key points, why it’s important to integrate trust into community strategies and what business needs to do to regain trust in the future.Trust in Business has DeclinedJohn Clinton, CEO of Edelman Canada, pointed out the report's four key findings:

1. NGOs remain the most trusted organizations, but people are becoming more selective on which NGOs to trust.2. Social media has allowed us to access information from whomever and wherever we want.3. When economic times are good, we are more trusting. When economic times are bad, we are less trusting.4. There continues to be volatility towards trust in business.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 1.32.31 PM

The report states that Canada’s trust in business dropped another consecutive year from 62% to 47% in 2015.Edelman states there are four factors that affect trust in business:

  • Industry sector

  • Enterprise type

  • Country of origin

  • Leadership

   What’s unsettling for business in Calgary is the sharp decline in trust towards the energy industry. Edelman reports a 10% drop in trust for the energy sector in 2015.Positive news is that Canada is the world’s second most trusted brand of origin, behind Sweden and before Germany. Yet the report’s overall findings show that Canadians themselves are becoming skeptical towards the businesses they are interacting with at home and overseas. People Want Profit and PurposeThe 2015 Trust Barometer states:

"80% of people agree that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social condition in the community it operates."

Canadians believe businesses are doing things for the wrong the reasons. Findings revealed that that only 15% of Canadians think innovation is driven by business’ desire to “improve people’s lives.”  Only 14% believe it’s to “make the world a better place.” The top two reasons Canadians think that business do anything is to “grow targets” and “make money.” The Future of Trust in BusinessChange DirectionDuring a panel discussion, Rob McKay, Fellow of the Chartered Accountants of Alberta, said that business should not necessarily do things differently to build trust, but that business should rather align its mandate with activities that meet social needs.He suggests that rather than management telling its employees which causes they should now follow, an organization should ask its people and the communities around it what their needs are.McKay says the future is dependent on businesses creating mandates that see profit as more of a tool of measurement than an end result. Clinton explains that people understand that businesses must make a profit to succeed, but we only value them if they are providing us with a direct benefit and enriching the lives of our families and selves.Solve, Behave, EngageClinton says that to build trust organizations must stand up and start to talk about the tough stuff. He states that it is leadership’s responsibility to say: “this decision may hurt us in the short term, but it is ultimately for the greater good.”Edelman provides three recommendations for businesses to begin to build trust:

  • Solve: keep the world’s problems in mind

  • Behave: be self-aware and transparent

  • Engage: foster dialogue, share information & create collaborations

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Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 1.26.17 PM

It’s clear Canada's faith in business is evaporating, and that building trust is a critical component of moving forward for both the health of business and society.To read the full 2015 Trust Barometer Canadian findings report click here.JS Daw & Associates can help your business increase stakeholder trust in by:

  • Identifying areas of mistrust

  • Creating new social mandates

  • Focusing on a social purpose

  • Engaging employees and community members

  • Building meaningful collaborations

View our range of consulting services and contact us today for more information.