Consumers struggle to keep the faith

by Stratton Craig

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In July last year we discussed falling levels of consumer confidence in multinational corporations, and recent surveys reveal that the outlook is still quite grim in the UK.

CorpComms Magazine (@CorpCommsMag) reported that the Annual RepTrak Pulse 2012 survey by the Reputation Institute found that, although in 2011 trust measured as improving, in 2012 two thirds of the 300 companies surveyed found that their corporate reputation had declined. BskyB for example, saw a ten-point decline year on year – no doubt a result of the ongoing News International crisis.

Meltwater Group (@MeltwaterGroup) have also been monitoring social networks, studying tweets, posts and comments. They found that 53% of chatter surrounded the economy, and 83% of that expressed mistrust – driven mainly by the behaviour of banks. When looking at the UK in general, Meltwater Group found that 78% of noise expressed mistrust in the government, and 71% in the legal system. Despite the aforementioned News International crisis, just 7% of distrust noise was related to the media.

The statistics paint a difficult picture for UK organisations to compete against, but we know that great communication can work wonders. Focusing on digital efforts can be a great place to start. As Meltwater Group have seen, more and more people are heading online to discuss important issues and voice their opinions – understanding the public’s attitude towards your industry is key to determining appropriate messages. Listening to and engaging in online conversations through your website, social networks and blogs shows a level of authenticity that will in time break down the barriers of mistrust and allow you to build real, tangible relationships with your audience.

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