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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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:

Infographic: Knowledge Vs. Experience

KnowledgeVsExperience

I saw this making its rounds on various social media timelines – and I thought it was pretty much spot-on.

Although, I would also use “data” and “information” almost interchangeably with knowledge as well. Besides “experience”, I think the image on the right can also represent “wisdom”, “analysis” and/or “insight”… you get my drift.

My point is this: there is more than enough data/knowledge readily available at one’s fingertips today. For the ordinary person, between your favorite search engine and Wikipedia, there’s more than enough knowledge to inundate you for a lifetime. From there, the scale just grows exponentially to incorporate all sorts of data/knowledge/information.

It’s what you do with that data/knowledge on the other hand is where the real money is.

Hence trends like Big Data (aside: I like this easy definition of Big Data, i.e. “The Three V’s of Big Data: Volume, Variety and Velocity”), social media tracking, and the like.

What Happens In An Internet Minute, The Internet Of Things, And What Marketers Must Do

I’ve highlighted this before, but today, I saw this featured again on my LinkedIn timeline in the format of a new infographic by Intel.

WhatHappensInAnInternetMinute

My favorite bit of Intel’s observation:

Today, the number of networked devices equals the world’s population. By 2015, the number of networked devices is expected to be double the world’s population. And by the time we reach 2015, it would take five years to view all the video content crossing IP networks each second.

Thinking about this and having grown up during the ascendancy of the internet, I continue to be marveled by how fundamentally the web and technology have revolutionized the way we live. Even as I follow the stories coming out of CES2014, one of the themes that have really called out to me has been “The Internet of Things” (IoT).

How then can marketers and communicators make the most of this? Well, I can think of a few:

  1. Data-driven insights – Today, there is so much data available to marketers along with the tools to access, understand and leverage this data into insights. Some of the conversation here lends itself to a larger discussion on Big Data, but the core assertion I’m making here is that marketing must be fueled by better insights – and sometimes, that comes more from slogging through data rather than pretty pictures.
  2. Dramatic disruption – With everything that happens in an internet minute, attention today is at a premium. We have more data and information – but we also have a lot more noise. To break through the clutter, one must truly be dramatic enough to warrant attention – in fact, I hearken back to my old hero, Seth Godin’s definition of “Remarkable” = Worth making a remark about. Is your brand, marketing proposition, story worth people making a remark about and be willing enough to share it with others? However, there is a flip side to this, which is my next point…
  3. Creative contextualization – Being dramatic is often misunderstood and has led to many a faux pas (which, today, one’s mistake is amplified many times over via social media). On the contrary, I do not subscribe to the maxim “any publicity is good publicity” (a lesson learned from having managed a few crises and issues in the past). What’s important thus is to ensure that your “dramatic disruption” is creatively contextualized to your audience – what they want, the way they’re thinking, what they may not know they need just yet… I’m a firm believe in audience-led marketing and believe that, given the data we have access to today, it would be extremely lazy not to figure out how to reach out to your audiences in a creatively contextual manner.
  4. Cultivated community – Finally, one of the best ways to consider how all this comes together is to consider how we might cultivate and embrace our community. The marketplace has and always will be about people – and people do gather into groups/tribes/communities. It’s our natural tendency. An astute marketer would be able to combine the data-driven insights to create and/or embrace an already established community and engage them with your brand, marketing proposition or story. It’s in this context that you can be dramatically disruptive in a way that is appreciated as creative and contextual. This has been made a lot easier on the internet, given the myriad social networks that we have and are a part of (*Cough* I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook*Cough*).

 

Here’s to the internet. 😉