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2019 Trust Barometer: Business Has to Take a Stance and Lead

It’s clear from our data that the days are gone when business could leave it up to politicians and public organizations to lead on change and speak up on important societal issues.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, recently presented in Davos, shows this to be definitively true: business has a much broader role to play in addressing the larger concerns of the world than it does. One could argue that for business, taking more of a visible stand is a moral obligation. This is perhaps a logical step to conclude, as a majority of respondents perceive that government is basically broken and incapable. But there is a much simpler, more direct imperative for business to take the lead: customers, employees and stakeholders demand it now.

We live in a full-employment economy in which competition is fierce and completely international. Long-lasting and resilient relationships with customers, employees and other important stakeholders will be pivotal for future business success. Great products, good working conditions and sound operations are obviously important. But the deciding factor in building loyalty will be trust.

On the face of it, this year’s Trust Barometer looks almost uneventful, but a few underlying trends are quite concerning and must be pointed out.

Strikingly, the only western countries where the four major institutions are not actively distrusted are Canada and The Netherlands. Even in those countries, trust is in the neutral zone, meaning barely half the population in those countries trust their institutions overall.

Secondly, the gap in trust levels between the “informed public” group and the mass population is at a record-high. In other words: elites seem quite pleased with the current reality we live in, while the masses are largely (very) discontented and distrusting. In all western economies, more than half of the mass population believe their lives will not improve in the years ahead. This is fueled by a widely shared sense of injustice and desire for change with only one in five believing the current societal system is working for them.

Yellow Vest protests and the U.K. Brexit vote are a testament to this rising sentiment. The French and British are amongst the five most pessimistic in the world, supplemented by Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. The majority is worried about losing their jobs due to automation, falling behind in career training, and about the possible impact of international trade conflicts. In short, people are very worried and pessimistic, and the governing elite is seen as either not capable of dealing with it, or not caring.

This is where business needs to come in. 76% of people expect CEOs to take the lead on change. 71% of employees think its critically important for their company’s leadership to respond to and talk about challenging times and sensitive subjects. 67% of the public agree that while a good reputation may get them to try a product, they will soon stop buying it unless they come to trust the company behind it.

The results also show trusted relationships do still exist. 75% of the general public expressed trust in their employer, even those who are otherwise disenfranchised and distrusting in general. This has some real benefits: with trust comes loyal, committed and engaged employees that speak up on your behalf. They recommend you as an employer, praise your products and services and they’ll defend you when needed.

However you slice the data, it’s clear that the time is now for business to take a stand. In a world screaming for change, business is not only expected, but also empowered to lead the way. Sure, with courage comes risk, but the rewards will be far greater. Especially when today’s underlying trends become tomorrow’s headlines.

Edelman Trust Barometer 2019: Nederlanders hebben het meeste vertrouwen in werkgever

Vertrouwen in instituties stabiel maar Nederlanders maken zich zorgen over de toekomst

Amsterdam, 7 februari 2019 – De jaarlijkse Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 toont aan dat mensen hun werkgever nu meer vertrouwen dan de overheid, het bedrijfsleven, media en NGO’s. Tegelijkertijd is ruim tweederde van het brede Nederlandse publiek pessimistisch over de toekomst. Vier op de tien Nederlanders zijn bang om hun baan te verliezen. Nederland is daarmee het op vier na meest pessimistisch gestemde land ter wereld. 

“De cirkel van vertrouwen wordt kleiner, en mensen stellen het meeste vertrouwen in relaties waar ze directe invloed op hebben,” zegt Arent Jan Hesselink, CEO van Edelman Amsterdam. “In een tijd waarin veel onzeker is, we grote geopolitieke verschuivingen zien en technologie de relatie tussen mensen en instituties fundamenteel verandert, is het vertrouwen in de werkgever ongekend hoog. Maar dat vertrouwen komt niet zonder voorwaarden. Mensen verwachten van werkgevers openheid en transparantie, en willen dat met name bedrijven de invloed die ze hebben aanwenden om de maatschappij positief te beïnvloeden.”

De Edelman Trust Barometer is een jaarlijks onderzoek naar de mate van vertrouwen in instituties, uitgevoerd in 27 landen, met een totaal aantal respondenten van 33.000. De Trust Barometer 2019 laat zien dat in Nederland het vertrouwen in de vier belangrijkste instituties (overheid, bedrijfsleven, media en niet-gouvernementele organisaties) het afgelopen jaar nagenoeg stabiel was. Met 60% bleef de index voor het bedrijfsleven in de ‘vertrouwenszone.’ Media en overheid bevinden zich met grotendeels ongewijzigde scores van 56% en 54% in de ‘neutrale zone’. Met een Trust-score van 47% zijn NGO’s het enige type organisatie dat wordt gewantrouwd door het Nederlandse publiek. Ook dit jaar blijft in Nederland de vertrouwenskloof tussen het geïnformeerde publiek (67%) en het brede publiek (54%) significant, al is deze kloof dit jaar 2 procentpunt kleiner dan in 2018. Wereldwijd laat de 2019 Trust Barometer van Edelman een lichte stijging zien van het vertrouwen in instituties, terwijl de vertrouwenskloof tussen het brede publiek en het geïnformeerde publiek wereldwijd nooit groter is geweest.

Nederlanders somber over toekomst
Hoewel het vertrouwen in instituties het afgelopen jaar vrijwel stabiel bleef, zijn Nederlanders relatief somber over de toekomst. Ruim tweederde van het brede Nederlandse publiek (69%) denkt er over vijf jaar niet beter voor te staan dan nu. Zo zijn Nederlanders bezorgd hun baan te verliezen door automatisering en robotisering (41%), door een gebrek aan vaardigheden of training (41%) of als gevolg van internationale handelsconflicten (36%). Qua vertrouwen in de toekomst is Nederland wereldwijd het op vier na meest pessimistische land. Hiermee staat het in een rijtje tussen landen als Frankrijk en het Verenigd Koninkrijk, waar aanhoudende gelehesjesprotesten en de aanstaande Brexit voor veel onrust en onzekerheid zorgen.

Vertrouwen in werkgever extreem hoog
Maar liefst 82% van de Nederlandse respondenten heeft vertrouwen in het bedrijf waarvoor zij werken. Nederland behaalt hiermee de hoogste score onder de gemeten westerse landen. Ruim driekwart van de Nederlandse respondenten zegt te willen dat CEO’s de leiding nemen in het afdwingen van beleidswijzigingen en hiervoor niet op de overheid wacht. Het toegenomen vertrouwen in de werkgever brengt ook nieuwe verwachtingen en verantwoordelijkheden met zich mee: 65% van de Nederlandse werknemers vindt dat het van cruciaal belang is dat hun CEO reageert in tijden van (maatschappelijke) crisis.

We zien dat vertrouwen het cement is van de relatie tussen werkgever en werknemer, waarbij Nederlandse werknemers die aangeven hun werkgever te vertrouwen, die belonen met een grotere toewijding (80%), betrokkenheid (66%), loyaliteit (70%) en de bereidheid om publiekelijk voor het bedrijf op te komen (74%).

Vertrouwen in en consumptie van traditionele media stijgt
De Edelman Trust Barometer laat een wereldwijde trend zien waarin het vertrouwen in traditionele media stijgt. Het afgelopen jaar leidde dit tot een ongekende toename van de mediaconsumptie en het delen van nieuws en informatie. Het vertrouwen in traditionele media (65%) en zoekmachines (65%) bevindt zich wereldwijd op het hoogst historische niveau, gedreven door grote stijgingen in ontwikkelde markten. Omgekeerd blijft het vertrouwen in sociale media (43%) laag, vooral in Europa en de Verenigde Staten.

Gender trust gap
Verder valt het verschil in vertrouwen tussen mannen en vrouwen op. Uit resultaten van het Trust-onderzoek blijkt dat vrouwen instituties beduidend minder vertrouwen. Dit verschil wordt vooral veroorzaakt doordat vrouwen minder vertrouwen hebben in NGO’s, het bedrijfsleven en de media (7 procentpunten minder dan mannen). Naast Nederland is er ook sprake van deze zogenoemde “gender gap” in landen als Duitsland (12% punten) en de VS (11% punten).

Over de Edelman Trust Barometer 2019
De Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 is de 19de editie van het jaarlijkse vertrouwen- en geloofwaardigheidsonderzoek van communicatie-marketingbureau Edelman. Het onderzoek wordt uitgevoerd door de onderzoeksafdeling Edelman Intelligence en bestaat uit dertig minuten durende interviews die tussen 19 oktober en 16 november 2018 zijn afgenomen. Het online onderzoek van de Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 werd onder 33.000 respondenten afgenomen in 27 land.

Over Edelman Edelman is ‘s werelds grootste onafhankelijke communicatie- en marketingbureau met meer dan 65 vestigingen wereldwijd. Edelman helpt bedrijven en organisaties bij het ontwikkelen, promoten en beschermen van hun merken en reputaties. Door middel van een geïntegreerde benadering van communicatie en marketing worden doordachte en effectieve oplossingen bedacht om klanten in staat te stellen hun zakelijke doelstellingen te realiseren. Edelman Amsterdam maakt daarbij gebruik van alle kennis en expertise binnen het wereldwijde netwerk van Edelman.

Contact: michelle.fresco@edelman.com +31 (0) 20 30 10 980

2019 Trust Barometer

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust has changed profoundly in the past year—people have shifted their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers. Globally, 75 percent of people trust “my employer” to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent) and media (47 percent).

Download the global results.

Divided by Trust

There is a 16-point gap between the more trusting informed public and the far-more-skeptical mass population, marking a return to record highs of trust inequality. The phenomenon fueling this divide was a pronounced rise in trust among the informed public. Markets such as the U.S., UK, Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong saw trust gains of 12 points or more among the informed public. In 18 markets, there is now a double-digit trust gap between the informed public and the mass population.

An Urgent Desire for Change

Despite the divergence in trust between the informed public and mass population the world is united on one front—all share an urgent desire for change. Only one in five feels that the system is working for them, with nearly half of the mass population believing that the system is failing them.

In conjunction with pessimism and worry, there is a growing move toward engagement and action. In 2019, engagement with the news surged by 22 points; 40 percent not only consume news once a week or more, but they also routinely amplify it. But people are encountering roadblocks in their quest for facts, with 73 percent worried about fake news being used as a weapon.

The New Employer-Employee Contract

Despite a high lack of faith in the system, there is one relationship that remains strong: “my employer.” Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.

Employees are ready and willing to trust their employers, but the trust must be earned through more than “business as usual.” Employees’ expectation that prospective employers will join them in taking action on societal issues (67 percent) is nearly as high as their expectations of personal empowerment (74 percent) and job opportunity (80 percent).

The rewards of meeting these expectations and building trust are great. Employees who have trust in their employer are far more likely to engage in beneficial actions on their behalf—they will advocate for the organization (a 39-point trust advantage), are more engaged (33 points), and remain far more loyal (38 points) and committed (31 points) than their more skeptical counterparts.

In addition, 71 percent of employees believe it’s critically important for “my CEO” to respond to challenging times. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the general population concur—they say they want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it.

Edelman Amsterdam announces further team expansion to drive further integration of communications and marketing services

Edelman has strengthened its team in Amsterdam with a further eight hires, significantly accelerating growth in its integrated communications marketing services offering.

Harald Boersma joins as director and Content & Client Lead for business to business clients. He will be working alongside Eeva Raaijmakers, who joined last year in the same role and has since been able to realize substantial growth in this client portfolio, creating the opportunity to further strengthen the leadership bench in this area.

Harald is a highly experienced expert in business-to-business communications and joins Edelman from scientific publisher and data analytics company Elsevier, where he spent eight years as Corporate Communications Director. Harald is also no stranger to the agency world: he has previously held roles at Coebergh Communications & PR and Publicis Consultants (now known as MSL).

Edelman Amsterdam has evolved from a traditional PR agency to a leading provider of fully integrated communications marketing solutions. This allows Edelman to serve client needs by offering integrated solutions across the entire marketing spectrum. These latest hires join the agency in addition to the six hires announced this past summer.

“The strategy we have for our company is ambitious and is paying off for our clients,” said Arent Jan Hesselink, CEO of Edelman Amsterdam. “We are able to provide them with better, more integrated solutions that contribute to the realization of their business goals in measurable ways. Building upon that platform, now is the right time for us to invest in strengthening our team further.”

In addition to Harald, Edelman will welcome eight new colleagues, including:

Julian van de Wetering, former Investor Relations Officer at Nutreco, joins as an Account Director specializing in financial communications
Leilah Thiart, former Communications Manager for DSM, Philips and Rabobank, joins as an Account Director specializing in business-to-business communications
Bhaarti Narain, former Project Manager for Photoflyer, will start as a Project Manager
Renée Reijers, a highly experienced reputation and communications expert with years of experiences in both corporations and agencies will start as Account Director.

A complete overview of the new team members is below.

“Edelman is not only the sector’s largest independent player globally, it has also become the leading agency in the Netherlands. A compelling vision guides the work we do for our customers, supported by an exceptionally talented team. It is a privilege to be part of an agency with such an appealing mission,” said Harald Boersma.

Edelman Amsterdam has strengthened its team over the past few years in various disciplines including Digital, Creative, Marketing, Data & Analytics and Brand specialists. It has developed into an agency that helps clients tackle commercial and reputation goals through the right mix of earned, paid, owned and social media. As a result, Edelman can offer customers a made-to-measure team that can effectively tackle integrated communication and marketing challenges; from strategic advice, up to and including execution.

“One of the things that makes Edelman unique is that we are independent,” said Hesselink. “That means we have a lot of space to invest and grow into the service provider we want to be. We believe that with that comes the obligation to our customers to always strive to lead the way and to do more than other agencies. The future of marketing and communication is fully integrated. We are ready to help our customers step into that future.”

EDELMAN AMSTERDAM IS WELCOMING THE FOLLOWING NEW COLLEAGUES:

Harald Boersma will start at Edelman as Director. He will return to the agency world after 8 years as Corporate Communications Director at Elsevier. Harald previously worked at Coebergh Communications & PR and Publicis Consultants (now known as MSL).

Leilah Thiart is beginning as Account Director. Leilah has extensive experience with B2B communication and has worked in corporate and marketing communications for several organizations. These include DSM, Rockwool, Philips, Rabobank and the municipality of Helmond.

Julian van de Wetering will start as Account Director specializing in Financial Communications. Julian previously worked as a Business Developer at GoodHout and as Investor Relations Officer and Corporate Development Manager at Nutreco.

Bhaarti Narain will begin as a Project Manager. Previously she worked as a Project Manager at Photoflyer, where she worked with various national and international clients.

Nomi Meijs is starting as an Associate Account Executive. Having previously completed an internship at Edelman while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Economics, Nomi followed a Pre-Master and Master of Business Administration at the University of Amsterdam and also worked at Edelman as a Back Office Assistant.

Isabella Mulder is also joining the team as an Associate Account Executive. After her Master’s in Political and Corporate Communications at the University of Amsterdam, she also completed an internship at Edelman.
Renée Reijers is starting as Account Director, with extensive previous experience as a spokesperson and senior communications advisor.

Renée has been freelancing at Reijers Reputation and Speech for the past five years, supporting several large organizations. Before that, she worked at Transport and Logistics Netherlands.

Six new hires for Edelman Amsterdam, as its ambitious growth strategy continues to deliver for clients and the agency

Edelman Amsterdam takes the next step in its ambitious growth plans by adding six new talented colleagues to its team of industry-leading talent. After successfully transforming into a fully integrated communications marketing firm, the office will be expanding even further in the coming months by adding a combination of fresh talent and experienced senior hires.

“Two years ago, we began a fundamental transformation to become the market leader in integrated communications and marketing services. We’ve changed our ways of working, our organizational structure and invested in new technologies and services for our clients. This transformation has paid dividends, and we’re doing higher value work for our clients, as well as substantially growing our business. As a result, we will be expanding our team significantly in the coming months, starting with six new team members in August,” said Arent Jan (AJ) Hesselink, who started as General Manager at Edelman Amsterdam two years ago.

Edelman Amsterdam has strengthened its offering across areas including digital, creative, marketing, data and analytics, and branding with all of these services offered by a fully-integrated, in-house team. It has developed from a traditional public relations firm into an agency that helps clients tackle commercial and reputation goals through the right mix of earned, paid, owned and social media. This has created the ability to offer clients an account team with the right expertise to tackle issues in an integrated way, from strategic advice up to and including execution.

“With our transformation to an integrated communications marketing team, we have created a platform for further growth. Not only can we advise and support our customers in all facets of communications marketing, we can also demonstrate the value of our work. We are also seeing that our approach is gaining traction, which is reflected in the breadth and diversity in the skillset of the specialists we have hired. This enables us to offer each client a tailor-made team that works together in the most efficient and effective way to achieve the best results,” said Hesselink.

Edelman Amsterdam is welcoming the following new colleagues:

Seema Sharma has started at Edelman as Creative Lead. She has previously worked for bureaus such as Woedend!, These Days and Blast Radius, after which she that she worked as a freelancer for JWT and Wunderman in London. Seema has also published two books about creativity: Write Nothing in Here & Read Nothing in Here.

Fiorenza de Heer will be a Senior Digital Content Specialist. Before moving to Edelman, she held the role of (Digital) Marketing Communications Manager at RTL and NPO, as well as Communicatons Adviser at the Erasumus+ International Subsidy Program; a fund of the European Commission.

Janneke van Cuijk has joined Edelman as a Digital Content Specialist. Previously she has worked in different functions at Quinny, with her most recent role being that of Global Brand Communications Specialist. Before starting there, she graduated with a degree in Media and Entertainment Management from Stenden Hogeschool.

Michelle Posthas started at Edelman as Senior Digital Specialist. Before joining the Edelman team, Michelle acted as Public Information Officer at the NATO Command and Control Centre of Excellence. Before that she worked as Social and Content specialist at ZIGT Media Bureau, and as Marketing and Communications Manager at NuDeal.

Danielle van Leeuwen is starting as a Senior Account Manager specializing in Health/Tech. Previously Danielle was Communications Manager at G DATA Benelux, and worked at international PR firm Text 100.

Anne Sandorhas started as Assistant Account Executive, having previously completed an internship at Edelman. After completing her internship, Anne went back to finish her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication and Information Science at the University of Groningen.

Melle de Haan is beginning as an Assistant Account Executive, having also previously completed an internship at Edelman. Before taking on his new role, he completed degree programs in Political Communications at the University of Amsterdam and History at the University of Antwerp.

Media relations isn’t dead, but we need to be realistic about the future

Tomorrow will look like today, and It won’t.

The world of media relations is not going to change overnight but it’s also possible to see where threats and opportunities heading, for both PR agencies and in-house communications teams.

(Real) Journalism is back

Deep, detailed investigative journalism is finally being funded properly. A select number of publishers are betting big on quality and on their ability to build a sustainable audience of paying readers. Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows they are wise to do so, as trust in specific, known journalists has rocketed in recent years in direct counterpoint to falling levels of trust in the media overall.

Genuine, pragmatic and long-term relationships with global top tier media will become more important than ever.  The best media handlers will deliver relevant, exclusive data (and commentary) and place their brands at the heart of interesting long-form journalism.

On the other hand, brands who fail to prepare for crises or are not on top of their own issues will be buffeted by harsh winds as investigative journalism uncovers issues anywhere from their supply chain through to their accounting practices.

Paying for coverage will come out of the shadows

Every market and media vertical has its own specific relationship between advertising spend and coverage.  This spectrum has at one end media houses such as the BBC with stringent rules, editorial codes and blanket bans on paying-to-play.  At the other end, paying influencers per post or a trade magazine with an unofficial pricelist for coverage.

Of course, the daily reality for PRs usually lies somewhere in the middle.  Navigating this world is a challenge and one which raises many questions.  At the forefront of these decisions must be the expectations of the audience, largely driven by the transparency of the arrangement.

Where social media leads, traditional media will follow. Media relations nous will need to be combined with commercial acumen in order to identify and forge effective collaborative journalism efforts and deliver earned-centric branded content and partnerships.

Clickbait will get worse, because we can’t help ourselves   

The search for clicks will continue, and the proliferation of low-value online content will continue to expand.  This trend will become even more painful because more and more communicators will adopt a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mindset and pump out even greater quantities of their own clickbait.

Smarter communicators won’t ignore this trend, though, but rather than lowering brand equity they’ll use analytics and semi-automation (with human safeguards and oversight) to create stories in near real-time which insert their brand into popular culture in authentic, credible ways. Think of it as the sell-in at scale.

As all of these trends continue, traditional PR skills such as strong relationship management and an eye for story will be as important as ever – but new skills such as better commercial acumen, literacy with data and coding will also be in the arsenal of the smart communications team or agency.

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