As predicted, 2012 has been the year when TRUST has begun to dominate the corporate agenda.

Consumer trust has, without doubt, been eroded over the years. Trust in the media has been worn by the phone-hacking scandals – the gravity of which continues to deepen.

Trust in banks and other financial institutions hit new lows during the global financial crisis, the spectre of which has never really left since the turmoil of 2008. The anger and news headlines live on from when huge executive bonuses were being distributed whilst institutions were just a ‘taxpayer bailout’ away from collapse.

Politicians lost the public’s confidence following the MP expenses scandal in 2009.

Even hospitals have lost the trust of the public. They are not always considered the trusted sanctuaries of care they used to be, especially following news of MRSA outbreaks and saline tampering at Stepping Hill, Stockport. 

BP oil leaks, recalled Toyotas, faulty Maclaren pushchairs, food scares – no wonder we see survey findings such as these – from research conducted by Mustard last year:

  • 56% agree that they “do not trust companies as much as they used to” (65% for banks)
  • 60% agree that they “give companies just one chance to get it right” (interestingly, 52% for banks)
  • 61% agree that, in general, “companies do not put customers first” (64% for banks)
  • 84% agree that they “put more importance on what companies do than what they say” (also 84% for banks)

Despite the squeeze on incomes, consumer and b2b audiences will not default to low cost suppliers, but will increasingly engage with organisations that they know they can rely on, the ones that are “on their side”, the ones that are aligned to their own beliefs and philosophies – and the ones that they TRUST.

Over the coming weeks we will publish the findings from a number of online polls we have conducted – to capture a ‘trust benchmark’ across a number of sectors and industries. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with your thoughts, examples and anecdotes on what companies are doing right (and wrong) in terms of building (and eroding) trust.

We are continuing to monitor and measure trust as a key metric within our brand tracking studies, and recommend you do the same.

For more information on how market research and customer insight can be used to better understand drivers of trust, then call Richard Walker at Mustard on +44(0)1625 628000