Trust wins in times of change

The global pandemic has put the question of whom and what we trust at the forefront of our minds. Many of the things the world faces right now will fundamentally change how we think, behave, and consume. Whilst 2020 saw an increase in mistrust, fake news, and misinformation, 2021 presents an opportunity for brands to look at why they should be trusted and how they stay relevant.

Woman trusts man to clip her bungy cord safely
The new world will have trust at its core.

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 offers interesting insights, none more so obvious than a lack of trust in world leaders, the media, and some CEOs. The survey revealed that business is the most trusted institute of the four sectors studied, and the only institution seen as both ethical and competent. Whether this sentiment is felt similarly in New Zealand it’s hard to tell. However, it does present an opportunity for business to redefine what trust and relevance means to their customers, employees, and stakeholders.

The new world will have trust at its core. For brands, their new mandate will be expanded to solve problems, to collaborate and to innovate in the public interest. To thrive and continue to be relevant, they will need to align goals and aspirations with society’s changing needs and expectations. Business will need to demonstrate they are more than only the bottom line.

To gain trust business will need to genuinely show they care by establishing what and how their brand contributes socially and environmentally.

An earlier Edelman Trust Report Spring Update 2020 noted that 81% of people surveyed said a brands impact on them is why brand trust has become more important, while 74 percent of people said a brand’s impact on society is a reason why brand trust has become more important. Furthermore, 80% said that to earn and keep trust a brand must solve society’s problems.

This suggests brands have a real opportunity to be leaders in advocating change and solving problems. But this doesn’t simply mean paying lip service to your CSR programme or stamping a mark on your website, it requires an alignment of your purpose and company strategy with your social and environmental journey.

Its time for action

Silence is not an option for many brands. Using your voice in an authentic and genuine way will be even more important. It’s not enough to sit by or watch. Nor is it appropriate to start marching on something that you’ve never taken notice of before. Action will take its rightful place ahead of empty statements and vague commitments.

Here are some questions for you to consider.

  • Is your brand in tune with your customer, stakeholder and employee needs?

  • Does your organisation understand what it means to be relevant and trusted in 2021?

  • Can your business be trusted to put people, purpose, and planet before profit?

  • What are the societal and environmental issues and challenges your brand are you solving?

  • Do you have a point of view that is aligned with your brand, is relevant and trustworthy?

If you would like to chat with us about your brand, and what trust and relevance means to your audiences, and the societal and environmental issues and challenges your brand could help solve, contact Katharine or Claire at