Edelman’s Trust barometer – a great study they do every year (and yes they are a competitor to MS&LGroup).
Key findings repeated here:
• Authority is dispersed – With technology becoming increasingly prevalent, conversations between friends and colleagues are now every bit as important as the traditional “top down” distribution of information. This new Age of Reference replaces the old pyramids of authority.
• Social media is mainstream media – 65 percent of people blog or network online, Twitter continues its exponential growth, Facebook has 100 million+ active users, 120 million visitors browse Wikipedia each month and YouTube has 5.5 million video feeds.
• Mutual social responsibility is expected – 82 percent of informed publics believe it is important for business to create solutions to reduce energy costs, and 80 percent believe business should cooperate with government to help solve the global economic crisis (Edelman’s 2009 Trust Barometer).
• All stakeholders are important, not just shareholders – More than 50 percent of informed publics view all stakeholders as equally important to a CEO’s business decisions. Only 21 percent view investors/shareholders as the most important constituency.
Reality requires new thinking
In short, we now live in a sphere of cross influence where decisions are informed by a constant flow of information across and between multi-lateral points of authority (employees, NGOs, governments, consumers, investors). This new reality requires a new thinking that realizes:
• Multiplicity and transparency are the default
• Command-and-control approach to communications is out, real-time feedback is in
• We live in a “snacking” culture – people like to consumer information in small pieces throughout the day (e.g., Twitter, YouTube)
• Social, environmental and economic sustainability are integral to a company’s license to operate
• Organizations are evolving from an “information economy” to a “collaboration economy”
• Employees want to be heard
• Simplicity and repeatability of messages are key