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The recent climate of distrust in politics and media has taken its toll, and businesses are paying the price. It doesn’t matter whether your company steers clear of politics and keeps a low profile during heated cultural debates. When institutional trust declines, all institutions — political and otherwise — suffer the consequences.

People don’t buy things from companies they don’t trust. Even before this recent decline in trust, consumers didn’t place their faith in brands unless those brands earned their respect first. This year, companies will have to work even harder to&nbsp;earn and rebuild the trust&nbsp;that was stripped away, likely by factors outside their control.

The State of Trust in 2018

The&nbsp;2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, conducted using 18 years of data from 28 countries, measures the trust and credibility of governments, businesses, and other major institutions among the public.

According to the report, trust is down around the globe. This year, the U.S. leads the charge with a 37-point drop in trust across institutions, which includes organizations from the government to businesses to mass media. Thanks in part to misinformation in traditional and social media, 63 percent of the U.S. population has trouble distinguishing between real and fake news.

As trust in institutions drops, however, trust in experts is rising. According to Edelman, trust in technical experts, analysts, and successful entrepreneurs now stands at 50 percent and higher, up from previous studies.

This is in stark contrast to trust in “a person like yourself,” which the study found to be at an all-time low. For a long time, people wanted to hear from others like them, at their level, and in their shoes — that’s who they trusted. But now, audiences no longer want to hear from just anyone with a thought in their head and their finger on the “Tweet” button. They want to listen to true experts who know exactly what’s happening and why.

These findings should encourage business leaders, not frighten them. By&nbsp;establishing expertise in your space&nbsp;and holding a dialogue with consumers, industry experts and business leaders can rebuild trust with their audiences — and differentiate themselves from the untrustworthy crowd at the same time.

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Shutterstock

The recent climate of distrust in politics and media has taken its toll, and businesses are paying the price. It doesn’t matter whether your company steers clear of politics and keeps a low profile during heated cultural debates. When institutional trust declines, all institutions — political and otherwise — suffer the consequences.

People don’t buy things from companies they don’t trust. Even before this recent decline in trust, consumers didn’t place their faith in brands unless those brands earned their respect first. This year, companies will have to work even harder to earn and rebuild the trust that was stripped away, likely by factors outside their control.

The State of Trust in 2018

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, conducted using 18 years of data from 28 countries, measures the trust and credibility of governments, businesses, and other major institutions among the public.

According to the report, trust is down around the globe. This year, the U.S. leads the charge with a 37-point drop in trust across institutions, which includes organizations from the government to businesses to mass media. Thanks in part to misinformation in traditional and social media, 63 percent of the U.S. population has trouble distinguishing between real and fake news.

As trust in institutions drops, however, trust in experts is rising. According to Edelman, trust in technical experts, analysts, and successful entrepreneurs now stands at 50 percent and higher, up from previous studies.

This is in stark contrast to trust in “a person like yourself,” which the study found to be at an all-time low. For a long time, people wanted to hear from others like them, at their level, and in their shoes — that’s who they trusted. But now, audiences no longer want to hear from just anyone with a thought in their head and their finger on the “Tweet” button. They want to listen to true experts who know exactly what’s happening and why.

These findings should encourage business leaders, not frighten them. By establishing expertise in your space and holding a dialogue with consumers, industry experts and business leaders can rebuild trust with their audiences — and differentiate themselves from the untrustworthy crowd at the same time.

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