India bucks global trend & shows surge in trust in Government

The latest edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that Indian’s have rising trust in the government,  while consumers look to search engines, family, friends and trusted companies for buy and sell decisions.

Modi Effect

The Modi effect is seen in the 2015 edition of Edelman’s Trust Barometer. While, globally people surveyed showed a dip in trust in major public institutions such as Business, Media, NGOs and Government, India actually showed a huge uptick in trust in the Government from 53% in the 2014 report to 82% in 2015.

Trust in Government 2014 VS. 2015

Source: Edelman

Robert Holdheim, CEO South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Edelman, told PRmoment India, that, “If you look at it logically in the past there was limited or no hope (in the government), but now you can see now that there is an explosion of hope.”

Holdheim adds when referring to how previous reports reflected trust in the government, “I once wrote an article that there are 3 things in life that are immovable, death, taxes and trust in the Indian government.”

Thanks to Modi, this has changed. Holdheim says, “Modi has got support from quarters he was earlier vilified by, for example by American academics.”

This of course, puts a huge burden of expectation on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Holdheim warns that, “If you saw the Obama situation, support for him waned because he was seen as not taking on tougher issues. And this is not something you can communicate your way out of.”

Modi will need to show real results on tackling issues such as corruption and privatisation.

Online Search emerges as most trusted source of information and trust in owned media climbs

Not surprisingly, search engines have emerged as the most trusted channel of information over print and television; remaining consistent, though static, over the last 3 years. Interestingly, there is a rise in trust in owned media from 71% last year to 86% now.

Trust in each source for general news and information in India

Source: Edelman

Holdheim says that where owned media is concerned this is a particularly high score for India as compared to the global result. He points out that this means that, “As long as you meet three categories of content – relevance, high quality and ethical content it opens up an avenue of opportunity for your clients.”

Holdheim also warns that there is a flip side to this – if your main source of information is via search engines then there is a natural bias to seek information that agrees with you, which can lead to a hardening of positions among consumers.

The results also clearly show that the most trusted sources of information are family and friends. This highlights that marketers that do not evangelise with their existing customer base can potentially lose out on influential spokespersons for their brand.

Trust in information created by each author on social networking sites, content sharing sites and online-only information sources in India

Source: Edelman

Customers want companies to care more

77% people surveyed in India said that business innovation was happening too fast. In a clear message to the corporate sector in India, respondents also felt that this was more due to business growth, technology and greed and less due to a desire to improve people’s lives.

Drivers of change in business and industry today are perceived to be:

Source: Edelman

At the same time India remains more open to innovation than the global trend.

Trust can impact how consumers buy or sell shares

Social economists have maintained that there is a link between the societal activities’ of a firm and its stock market performance ( In 2014, Professor Saurab Mishra, Desautels School of Management at McGill University, told PRmoment India that good CSR can directly affect the stock market price of a company. The professor said: “Our findings show that firms that focused on positive CSR are expected to lower their idiosyncratic risk in the stock markets, whereas those engaging in negative CSR are expected to increase their idiosyncratic risk.”

This also reflects in the Edelman Trust Barometer Report 2015. Rakesh Thukral, Managing Director, Edelman India said that their research for the Trust Barometer shows that 53% of people surveyed bought shares in companies they trusted and 34% sold shares in companies they did not trust.

Behaviour based on trust in India

Source: Edelman

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