Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 38

> FINANCE AND CAPITAL

Profiting from Trust
TAKING A STAND ON SOCIAL ISSUES IS FRAUGHT WITH RISK, BUT IT IS ALSO
ESSENTIAL TO AVOID, "NO BRAND'S LAND." > By Mike Troy

T

These are strange times in the world of government and media
with public trust in both institutions at an all-time low, according
to global communications firm Edelman's 18th annual Trust Barometer study. The landmark research conducted last fall surveyed
33,000 people in 28 countries and found the U.S. overall had the
largest drop in trust.
"We have seen throughout the 18 years all different types of
themes. The thing we saw this year was a huge crisis in trust in the
U.S.," said Jamie Kieffer, Managing Director of Client Strategy with
Edelman.
The thing with trust, Kieffer noted, is it tends to be a zero sum
game. Meaning when one sector is up, another is down. After the
financial crisis, for example, Edelman's trust barometer showed
business took a hit while trust in government increased.
"As humans we need to trust in something so if there is a bad
actor in one sector trust tends to shift," Kieffer said.
That didn't happen last year however as trust in the four
institutions Edleman tracks - businesses, government, media and
non-governmental organizations - experienced the largest drop in
the U.S. of any of the 28 countries surveyed.
"There has been an absolute trust crash in the United States,"
Kieffer said.
What is more troubling is when researchers looked at the
15 percent of respondents who met criteria around education,
income level and media consumption to qualify as the "informed
public," trust scores were even worse.
"The more you know
and seek to know the less
you trust. Among this
thought leading segment
of the population we
have the lowest level of
trust of anywhere in the
world. We have lost trust
in every single institution," Kieffer said.
Much of the degradation of trust is the result
of the media, which sank
to the lowest level ever in
the survey with people
no longer trusting where
they get their informaIn the midst of a global trust crisis,
tion. The implications for
Jamie Kieffer, managing director of client
retailers and brands are
strategy at Edelman, urges companies to
stand for something.
huge because trust has

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Retail Leader.com MAY/JUNE 2018

long played a key role in shoppers' decisions about which retailers
to frequent and which brands to buy.
"If you are feeling an undertow it is real," Kieffer said earlier this
year when he shared key insights from the trust barometer research
with senior brand and retail executives in attendance at the annual
Path to Purchase Summit in Chicago. There are three key areas
where the issue of trust can be addressed, including:
Own your story: In a world of low trust businesses and brands
can be the answer, according to Kieffer, but the way stories are told
has to be different than it was in the past.
"If you think you are powerless as a business in a world of
little trust nothing could be further from the truth," Keiffer said.
The key is to tell stories from a position of authenticity as opposed to marketing because people see right through marketing,
an interesting admission coming from a career marketer with
more than 20 years experience on the agency side with Leo Burnett
and more recently on the client side. Kieffer joined Edelman, a
highly respected communications firm, in the fall of 2015.
There is a realization that people know they are living in
bubbles, but that has given rise to a demand for technical experts, which means opportunities for brands.
"Tell your stories, tell them rigorously and clearly and make
sure they are accessible. Don't just tell stories and put them on
your web page, bring your storytelling to the world and become
your own media company," Kieffer advised.
Engage on your terms: Closely correlated to owning your
story, engaging on your terms means looking at communication channels currently in use and recognizing the sources of
information trusted today are very different.
"Look at the channels you are currently using and ask the
question, 'where do people want to hear from you?' What you
will find is people almost two to one will believe your social
media over your advertising," Kieffer said. "People want to hear
from your leadership and even more importantly they want to
hear from your employees."
The best thing to do is prioritize social over advertising and let
the CEO, other senior executives and front line employees speak.
"Time and again we feel there is no better spokesperson for a
company than a well-informed employee. There are folks who
bleed whatever color your logo is. Find them and engage them,"
Kieffer said.
Take a stand and do something: Potentially one of the
trickiest areas of trust, Edelman's research shows that more than


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Leader - May/June 2018

Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Contents
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 9
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 10
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 11
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 12
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 13
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 14
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 15
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 16
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 17
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 18
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S1
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S2
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S4
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S5
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S6
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S7
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - S8
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 19
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 20
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 21
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 22
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 23
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 24
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Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 26
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 27
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 28
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 29
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Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - 42
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Retail Leader - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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