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Trust rises for gov and brand leaders

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

In uncertain times, honesty, leadership and action build trust in government and brands.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Trust in government is at an all-time high according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer Update.

With 65% of respondents saying they trusted their government institutions, an 11 point increase from January 2020, making it the most trusted institution in the world.  The pandemic is affecting most people globally. It’s not a single act of terrorism, or a natural disaster, and due to the enormity of the situation the government feels like the only institution capable to deal with it. We trust them with economic relief, containing the virus, getting the country back to normal and informing the public.

We previously wrote an article about how in Australia, trust for the government has increased since the pandemic started. Scott Morrison’s approval rating is one of the highest’s for any Aussie PM in the last decade, even after the major backlash he received from his response to the bushfires.

However, the recent JobKeeper $60 billion oversight might lose some of the government’s hard earned trust, being described by Penny Wong as the “black hole in the economic credibility” of the government.

Brands to do the right thing

And although people are looking to the government more than ever, according to the same Edelman report, 62% of people agreed that brands needed to play a critical role addressing the challenges of the pandemic. Those brands not doing the right thing, will be affected accordingly, with 33% of respondents globally saying they will stop using a brand that they felt was not acting appropriately. And 71% saying brands that place profits before people will lose their trust forever.

So what do people want brands to do during this time?

It seems above all, protecting their employees and suppliers financially is the number one thing brands should be doing right now. However, offering free or lower-priced products to essential workers and high-risk individuals, partnering with government to address the crisis and shifting to producing products that help meet the challenges are also seen as ways brands can earn consumers’ trust.

Australia’s most trusted brands

In Australia, the way certain businesses responded to the pandemic has meant they have become some of the most trusted brands in Australia.

According to the latest Roy Morgan’s Risk Monitor report, the most trusted brand during the pandemic is Bunnings, followed by Woolworths. Both brands were open throughout the worst weeks  of the lockdown and quickly adapted to best service their customers whilst keeping staff safe. Despite not having sausage sizzles, Bunnings drew a lot of customers wanting to DIY during isolation, to keep them and their staff safe they controlled the number of people in store, had exclusive trading hours for tradies and front-line workersand developed drive & collect to minimise contact and people in-store.

Woolworths introduced community hour for the elderly and front-line workers and developed the basics boxin partnership with Australia Post (also on the top 10 most trusted brands list) to provide essential items to those that couldn’t go to supermarkets.

However, according to Roy Morgan’s CEO Michele Levine, ‘Qantas and the CBA are the standout performers’ in the list. This could be due to Qantas’ involvement in getting Aussies stranded overseas back home and CBA offering loan payment relief  to customers affected by the crisis.

Source: Roy Morgan via Ad News

But when will the trust bubble pop?

Even though this new earned trust may be promising for the government, according to Edelman’s CEO, Richard Edelman, this ‘trust bubble’  won’t last past Christmas. When the immediate danger is over, the long term consequences of the pandemic such as job loses will come back to light and trust may be lost once again.

Sylvia Jahn

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