A Week of Trust


This week was all about trust, or perhaps the lack thereof!

Branding in the 21st Century – AAI

Beginning on Tuesday, with the AAI’s talk from the legendary adman John Fanning who spoke about Branding in the 21st Century.

Fanning spoke about the value of a company’s purpose and being true to that purpose. Brands such as Patagonia are an excellent example of how an organisation’s core values align with their brand and the transparency they offer is both refreshing and honest.

Today somewhat bravely, on the Patagonia website they have three sections related to products so that potential purchasers can see the good plus the bad (in terms of any possible negative environmental implications in the making of the product and its materials) plus a third section which then encourages discussion on these two areas. This of course helps to win respect and offers a more transparent picture for the consumer.

What is interesting in this case study is that if a company can highlight the bad as well as the good, then perhaps consumers are more likely to believe the good!

What’s Happening to News – The Irish Times

On Wednesday, at the Lighthouse cinema, the Irish Times invited the marketing and media industry to hear about their latest developments and trends. The panel included Simon Carswell who talked about what is was like to cover the fascinating US elections as their Washington correspondent.

Interestingly, Carswell spoke of how it was not until he went to the heartland of America in places like Idaho, that he got a true picture of the problem for Clinton and the energy around the Trump supporters.  Much was discussed of the “Trump Bump” where data showed the correlation of Trump’s tweets versus the corresponding rise in the Irish Times readership.

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2017

On Thursday morning, Edelman held their annual Trust Barometer in the Marker Hotel, which showed some startling figures for Ireland. Edelman’s Managing Director, Joe Carmody told us how the biggest erosion in trust has been the media, suffering a 10% decline and how we now trust the government more than the media*.

Newstalk’s Shane Coleman who moderated the Edelman talk, spoke about the echo chamber and agreed with the research, which highlighted some worrying statistics.  45% of people do not regularly listen to people or organisations with whom they often disagree*.

RTE Primetime’s Katie Hannon agreed and felt that people were using media to confirm their own beliefs and are more reluctant to believe the facts and instead want to hold onto their beliefs.

According to the Trust Barometer, when it comes to the choice between search engines and human editors, search engines win out with 53% more likely to believe search engines over humans at 47%*. Shocking, when you consider the authenticity and variety of sources of content coming from a search engine.

What was interesting from a media perspective, was the rise in trust of traditional media from 2016 to 2017, suggesting as Katie Hannon pointed out in times of fear, consumers turn to traditional media, who perhaps have more resources to deal with the facts.

That said, a whopping 49% never or rarely change their position on important social issues*, which is significant or as Katie Hannon quoted Mark Twain’s famous saying – “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Judge Nicholas Kearns had the audience in the palm of his hand, by talking about the worrying state of the world and his concern for it right now, from Brexit to Trump. Kearns pointed to the speed of change from a digital perspective and noted that you don’t see many people on the Luas these days, without their head stuck in a phone. But perhaps his thoughts were best summed up how he felt about everything (from Brexit to Trump) by reading the lyrics of the classic Leonard Cohen song:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

And so to next week!

*Source: Edelman Trust Barometer – www.Edelman.ie

Fiona Field