Edelman Trust Barometer 2016: Influence Levers Shifting To Peers, Employees

EdelTrust-EveryVoiceMattersThe 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that respondents are increasingly reliant on a “person like yourself”, who, along with a regular employee, are significantly more trusted than a CEO or government official. On social networking and content-sharing sites, respondents are far more trusting of family and friends (78 percent) than a CEO (49 percent).

“This year’s data reinforces the trusted role that search and social technology platforms play in taking a fragmented landscape of published content and re-aggregating it in a fashion that often directly reflects an individual’s worldview. The data reinforces the need to build integrated communications programs that map the total journey stakeholders take to consume information,” opines Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist.

In sync with the emergence of a widening trust gap, influence today decidedly rests in the hands of the mass population. The net result is a new phenomenon where the most influential segment of the population (or 85 percent of the population) is at the same time the least trusting. This reality stems from the fact that “a person like yourself,” or an average employee, is far more trusted than a CEO or government official. In fact, a person like yourself is almost twice as trusted as a government official.

Peer-influenced media—including search and social—now represents two of the top three most-used sources of news and information. Both search and social outrank every traditional source of information, with the exception of television, in terms of frequency of use. And increasingly, peers influence purchasing decisions, with 59 percent saying they’ve recommended a company to a friend or colleague in the last year, and according to the 2015 EARNED BRAND study, 75 percent saying that they made a decision about a brand based on a conversation with a peer.

EdelTrust-PeersInfluencePurchase

The Barometer shows that trust in employees as credible spokespeople for companies is on the rise: in 2016, 52 percent agree that employees are a credible source of information—four points greater than a year ago.

In several areas, employees are viewed as the most trusted sources of information, particularly when it comes to communicating on financial earnings and operational performance, a business’ practices or handling of a crisis, and how it treats employees and customers. In each of these areas, they outrank a company CEO, senior executive, activist consumer, academic, and media spokesperson as far as trust and credibility.

“Virtually no spokesperson is more trusted than a company’s own employees. And yet, one out of every three employees doesn’t trust his or her own company. For nearly every company, deeper engagement with employees is a low hanging fruit—and a direct avenue to growing trust in business, at the organizational level, and at the institutional level,” said Michael Stewart President & CEO, Europe & CIS for Edelman.

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10 overused buzzwords Asia-Pacific marketing & communications professionals are using on LinkedIn in 2016

Marketoonist - NoBuzzwords

If you’re an Asia Pacific-based marketing or communications professional, LinkedIn has revealed that you’re probably using these words in your profile:

  1. Creative
  2. Passionate
  3. Strategic
  4. Successful
  5. Motivated
  6. Driven
  7. Leadership
  8. Innovative
  9. Track record
  10. Dynamic

The list for 2016 was derived from LinkedIn’s analysis of the profile summaries of marketers in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Cue the sound of Shift+F7 being tapped across the region and a surge of incoming traffic to Thesaurus.com all across the region.

LinkedIn’s Regional Head of Communications Roger Pua advised marketers to ditch the buzzwords and focus on more substantial ways to brand and market themselves, such as “substantiating their work and achievements with concrete examples such as awards, presentations, research papers, etc. Remember too, that a picture says a thousand words, so let’s put an end to tired and overused buzzwords.”

Kudos to LinkedIn, by the way, for getting my long-time favorite Marketoonist Tom Fishburne to come up with a few cartoons to drive home this fact.

Now, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be reviewing my LinkedIn profile and hitting up Shift+F7.

H/T: Marketing+Advertising, Mumbrella Asia

Speaking at IACT on The Future Of Marketing & Communications

Speaking at IACT 20151202
The great bunch of students I had the pleasure of hanging out with. 2 Dec 2015.

I was invited to give this presentation to a student class at IACT College, which was founded by the advertising industry to become Malaysia’s premier college specialising in creative communication.

I enjoyed my time with the students as well as the insightful questions they asked.

I spoke on “The Future of Marketing & Communications”, exploring the disruptions impacting marketing and communications today as well as what capabilities practitioners need to develop for the future. In a world where the scarcest resources are attention and engagement, marketers and communicators need to:

  1. Have a conversation – Marketing and communications today is essentially a dialogue with the marketplace. We need to design organisations and capabilities that set us on a virtuous circle where we sense/listen, integrate, and communicate again and again to remain relevant and engaged with our audiences.
  2. Embrace and co-create with your community – From the conversations we have with the marketplace, we are able to take in input and perspectives that result in truly engaging initiatives that already have buy-in from our audiences and customers.
  3. Tell authentic stories – In a world saturated with banal noise, authentic storytelling helps cut through the clutter; engaging both the heart and the mind.
  4. Integrate across media – Marketing and communication channels can no longer operate in silos. The sum of parts are often stronger than the individual parts.
  5. Build your own media platforms – As the media and channel landscape becomes even more fragmented, a brand’s own media platforms often become an authoritative source of information.

My slides are available here:

I also shared some case study/examples from both Microsoft and Shell. The videos I refer to in my slides are as follows:

Shell – Destination Home

  • Link to video on Youku
  • More context to this campaign available here and here

Shell #MakeTheFuture – Morro de Mineira Project

Microsoft – Decode Jay-z with Bing

Speaking at Comms Malaysia 2015 on The Future of Communications

CommsMalaysia_2015-40Photo credit: Advertising + Marketing

I was very honored to be invited to join a great panel of speakers at the recent Comms Malaysia 2015 event, organized by Advertising + Marketing, a publication of Lighthouse Independent Media.

Comms Malaysia Speakers

I spoke on the topic, “Looking to what’s next: The Future Of Communications.” In my presentation, I made the case that the marketing and communications landscape is being completely disrupted by many forces, including: the globalized & hyper-connected world we live in today; Big Data and the Internet of Everything; Social media; an ever-changing and ever-fragmenting media landscape; ubiquitous connectivity, and changing interfaces.

Drawing on case studies and examples from both Microsoft and Shell, I then outlined four capabilies marketers and communicators could build on to prepare themselves for the future of communications:

  1. Embracing & co-creating with your community
  2. Telling authentic stories
  3. Integrating across media
  4. Building on our owned media platforms

Here are the slides from my presentation. I hope you enjoy them and look forward to engaging with you on it.

There were two videos embedded in my presentation, which can be viewed via YouTube here:

  • #makethefuture Morro da Mineira Project:

  • Microsoft Bing – Decode Jay-Z Case Study:

What I Learned From Getting Suckered Into Completing The ALSA.org #ICeBucketChallenge

A couple of days ago, I mentioned on Twitter that I had been called out by a tech journalist, friend and quintessential Twitter troll, Andrew Yew, to do the ALS #IceBucketChallenge, along with another tech journalist, Vernon Chan.

ALS_1_edited

 (Photo credit: Vernon Chan)

For the uninitiated, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge basically involves dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. (Now, as with all things there will be those who have a different opinion, which I fully respect. In our case, we felt that this message from a family coping with ALS helped us decide to move forward in our support for this initiative)

The three of us decided to take up the challenge – but, inspired by the genius that is Charlie Sheen, we added a twist. We asked for donation pledges a minimum of RM100 per bucket, hoping to raise at least RM1,000 for ALSA.

(No) Thanks to some very generous friends from my end (who clearly felt that it was money well spent to see me suffer) as well as my neurotic overachieving personality, I (unfortunately) managed to raise RM800 – which meant I had to douse myself with eight buckets of ice water.

Altogether, it was all in good fun. Along with our personal contributions, we successfully completed the challenge raised a combined total up to RM1,800, surpassing our intended goal!

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s my #IceBucketChallenge video:

What I learned

Now, being the marketing geek that I am, here are several reasons why I think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenged worked the way it did – so much that it even crossed over to having Asian celebrities, politicians, and industry captains participating.

1) It was fun

Whether you were watching the video or participating in the challenge, it was a pretty fun experience (unless you have to pour eight buckets!). Never underestimate the value of simple fun to get that buy in – whether it’s to share a video, participate in the activity or to even be challenged to donate to a good cause. And, by the way, it needs to be genuinely “fun” for the participants – and just for the brand/organization.

2) It was easy

The idea was very simple: Dump a bucket of ice water over your head or donate to Alsa.org, then nominate three others to do the same, all via video. Easy to do, easy to communicate, easy to pass on the challenge. Too much “viral” campaigns have complicated T&Cs (the infamous “terms and conditions apply”) that more time is spent trying to explain the activity and its expected outcome, than actually participating in the initiative itself. Don’t let legalese and marketing-speak crowd out beautiful simplicity.

3) It was involving

The Ice Bucket Challenge worked because it involved people nominating people – which is essentially your good ol’ “Word Of Mouth” marketing at work. The transmission by participation meant that the people involved would be responsible for getting others involved – basically serving as “sneezers” spreading an ideavirus” (to borrow Seth Godin’s parlance). Another thing to note: while the attention to the campaign was greatly accelerated globally when big names got involved, what truly got people participating was the direct challenge from someone they knew. While it mattered that the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were lending their names to this great initiative, it was the “people nominating people” bit that helped the movement gain traction and become that elusive “viral campaign” that many aspire towards.

In the end, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is clearly going to be this year’s marketing, digital and social media case study. Plenty of people are already starting to analyze the campaign and attempt to reverse engineer it.

In fact, Samsung even attempted to capitalize on it…

… and, in board rooms across the world, marketing teams are hoping to dream up the next “Ice Bucket Challenge” for their brands and organizations:

Still, say what you will, though, the campaign worked. The latest update from Alsa.org (as of this writing) shows that the campaign has raised a staggering US$70.2 million.