Posted by: JenLuecht | November 19, 2014

In a world where doing good equals more money, who do you trust?

The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer marked the biggest gap between the public’s trust in government and businesses recorded since 2001 (when Edelman first began conducting the study). One of the biggest reasons for this gap is due to the government’s reliance on a top down communication approach, particularly when it comes to receiving information from world and government leaders. Social activists, on the other hand, have adopted communication strategies that push both indirect and direct messaging with sustained reciprocity. Businesses have taken note and have begun to adopt this model – earning more trust from the public.

If, in fact, life satisfaction is a prerequisite of social trust, what does this say about the future of our jobs, friends, governments, and communities? Huge, multinational companies are taking note that new interactive media allows users to engage in and build social groups online (via our media consumption). Unilever recently encouraged 70 million consumers to sign up for its Project Sunlight campaign and pledge acts of environmental mindfulness. Microsoft’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial and Bing’s Heroic Women of 2013 ad both highlight the veins of social change present in each organization.


These are for-profit companies, gaining the trust of their consumers by motivating social change and illuminating the impact they have on the world.

Is there a sweet spot where businesses will adopt the rituals of social change in order to engage consumers? Companies can make more money by doing more good – thus setting the standard of what it looks like to truly interact with a consumer. Will it stick?

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