ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
AN EDELMAN PUBLICATION
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Trust is an essential asset for any business anywhere in the world, which is why we have been measuring and assessing it now for 16 years. But trust is an outcome, not a message. It is driven by behavior first and communications second. It is a function of the tangible products and services a business provides, and the way in which it provides them. It is driven by how a business treats its customers, its employees, its partners, the environment and the communities it lives with. And yes, it is also about the way in which it communicates. In its most profound sense, everyone knows what trust is and everyone understands and has experienced how trust is earned and how it is lost. But despite this, behaviors that drive trust are often victims of the day-to-day pressures of running a business effectively.
And that is dangerous. If a company becomes distrusted, people are 48 percent less likely to buy its products or services. And if it is actively trusted, they are 68 percent more likely to buy its products or services. So measuring and managing trust should be a mission critical function for every business and every CEO. And trust can be measured and it can be managed. To help with this, we identified the 16 attributes that drive trust, and over the years we have spent a huge amount of time and effort assessing the relative importance of those attributes in multiple markets. We have then tested the data in real-life situations with our clients in just about every sector across 65 offices worldwide. Our 5,500 people use these attributes with thousands of clients every day and that process is kicked off annually, in January, when we publish and debate in open forums the headline results of our data. And every year we learn again from the debate it prompts. This collection of essays is part of that process and looks at the data for 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APACMEA) region. As you will see, the findings vary significantly from market to market, proving that whilst trust needs to be part of any CEOs job, it also needs to be managed market by market. We hope you find the essays interesting. David Brain, President and CEO Edelman APACMEA
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
United Arab Emirates
ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
Trust in the Trusting Region By David Brain, President and CEO, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Trust in the four institutions of business, government, media and NGOs is up around the world, but it is only the developing economies of Asia and the Middle East that can feel good about that. First the good news: trust has recovered to pre-Great Recession levels around the world with NGOs regaining their number one position in most markets. Trust in NGOs to do what is right is at 67 percent of the informed public (top 15 percent of population) and 55 percent of the general population (all respondents) â€” both rises of four points. Business has seen even higher respective rises of six points and five percentage points, with media and government enjoying smaller rises too. In our Edelman Trust Index (where we combine the scores for all four institutions), the top six countries are all developing economies with five of them being in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APACMEA). This is true of both the informed public and general population. As always, if an economy is improving, people tend to confer trust on the institutions they believe are responsible for that. And with countries like Poland, Japan and Russia at the foot of the table, it is safe to infer the opposite as well. Perhaps not surprising then is that APACMEA developing economies also make up four of the global top five when it comes to trusting business to do what is right. That said, Japan remains firmly rooted to the bottom. Less intuitive perhaps, but now an Edelman Trust Barometer staple, is the fact that there are only six markets of the 28 we survey globally where government is a more trusted institution than business, and five of them are from APACMEA. So whilst business has an opportunity to lead in many western markets where it is a more trusted institution than government, and often more trusted to address
specific societal issues than government, that is not always the case in APACMEA. Getting government on board and ensuring that your business strategy is understood and accepted in this region is therefore vital. So to the bad news. Globally there is now a 12-point gap in the Edelman Trust Index between the informed public and the mass population (the remaining 85 percent). And this gap is increasing. Western developed democracies make up four of the top five with the biggest trust gap. While India is the big regional exception, with the fourth biggest trust gap between the â€œrich and the rest,â€? the developing economies of APACMEA appear largely to have succeeded in fusing fast economic development with a much wider sense that everyone is sharing in the benefits of that growth. APACMEA REMAINS THE MOST trusting region and, it would seem, the region with the smallest trust gap between rich and poor. For a number of years now, an employee has been one of the most trusted sources of information about a company. Much more so than the CEO. This year we asked respondents how much they trusted the company they worked for. Workers who trust their employers come almost exclusively from developing economies. Interestingly, Japanese respondents are significantly the least trusting of their employers with only 40 percent giving a positive response, which is half the level of trust enjoyed by Indian or Chinese businesses. Employees are essential advocates for the companies they work for and with some firms in the region employing hundreds of thousands of people, they are particularly powerful assets.
ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
The trust in media scores in our region are often a source of interest. This year, as always, China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates scored highly (81 percent, 69 percent and 68 percent respectively for the informed public) and yet media in these countries is owned or strictly controlled by the government. While trust is a universal value, the idea of â€œwhat is rightâ€? varies by country and culture. When we have delved deeper in these markets, we have been told that nation building is as important a role for the media as challenging authority. NGOs also had a good year after drops in trust last year. Trust in NGOs went up in 82 percent of the countries surveyed amongst the general population, with the most dramatic jump occurring in China (17 points), signaling their growing importance as organizations business should partner with. Companies headquartered in developed markets are still more trusted than those based in developing markets. India (30 percent), China (33 percent) and Korea
(42 percent) are the least trusted national identities from APAC versus Canada and Sweden at the top (66 percent). This remains a huge communication challenge for Asian and developing market businesses, particularly as they flex their muscles and leave their home markets to sell products and services or do deals. I hope the following essays provide an interesting and useful guide to the trust landscape in 11 of the markets in this region. There is much more actionable detail available, so please get in touch with the Edelman author for the country you are interested in. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
While trust is a universal value, the idea of â€œwhat is rightâ€? varies by country and culture. ASIA PACIFIC, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
When we delve deeper into these markets, we have been told that nation building is as important a role for the media as challenging authority.
Common Ground Within A Disparate North Asia By Bob Grove, CEO, Edelman North Asia
2015 was a year in which North Asia continued to exhibit the diverse nature of its different cultural, economic and political components. Worries over China’s slowing economy have been softened somewhat by improving regional ties, but with a North Korea seemingly never short of unpredictable actions, the stability and prosperity of the region constantly hangs in the balance. When national interests prevail, the path to take when building trust is not always an obvious one, and despite increases over the previous year, trust is not an attribute that can be taken for granted for those operating in the region. The increase we have observed in trust across North Asia this year is in line with a trend we are seeing on a global level, where trust towards the four institutions of government, media, business and NGOs among nearly all informed publics shows increases over the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer. 2016 North Asia Trust in… China Hong Kong Japan South Korea Government 86% 47% 41% 38% Media 81% 53% 39% 52% Business 80% 43% 45% 37% NGOs 83% 64% 40% 72% Trust Index 82 52 41 50
Whereas in other regions this has resulted in a narrowing of the gap between trust in these institutions, for North Asia the gap between its least trusted institution, business, is now 14 points lower than its most trusted, NGOs. Business remains the least trusted institution in all but one of the North Asian countries — Japan. Japan ranks the highest, and in between there is no real consensus over where the trust towards government and media lies. 10
With China showing record levels of trust in the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, what is now clearer than before is the extent to which the highly trusting Chinese public is propping up trust levels throughout the region. The Edelman Trust Index for North Asia — the average level of trust across all institutions and countries — currently stands at 56 percent. However, if you remove China from the equation, it plummets to 48 percent. Put in comparison with the rest of Asia Pacific at 68 percent, and the global results across 28 countries at 60 percent, this paints a picture of a region whose trust is still far from having been earned. The Edelman Trust Barometer measures the importance of 16 core drivers towards trust in business. The general population in China and Hong Kong derive much of their expectations of business from its ability to deliver high quality products and services, while fair treatment of employees remains one of the top issues for the South Korean public — an expectation which has also seen increasing importance in Japan and Hong Kong this year. Yet business does not appear to be listening or changing its behavior. Many of the gaps between what the public considers important in building trust in these organizations, and how these expectations are actually being delivered, remain on par with last year. The largest of these gaps can be found in the area of integrity, where business appears to fall short in taking responsible actions to address issues and is not providing enough openness and transparency in the way it operates. And as ever, for those in regional reputational management roles, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building trust across Asia Pacific and the neighboring regions, as the chart on the following page depicts.
Treats employees well
Has ethical business practices
Offers high quality products or services
Takes responsible actions to address an issue or crisis
Listens to customer needs and feedback SINGAPORE
Has transparent and open business practices
The attributes that people see as being most important in building trust in business The top two chosen attributes from each country are represented. In some cases countries have as many as 4 equally-chosen attributes.
INDONESIA S.AFRICA AUSTRALIA
New to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer is an in-depth look into the factors that establish trust in business leaders. On the whole, the results echo those seen for the drivers of trust in business generally, but firmly demonstrate the importance of the CEO as an embodiment of his or her companyâ€™s values. The CEO is expected to articulate the purpose and values of a company rather than simply reporting financial results and expectations. Where they understandably differ, however, is in their reflection of the human characteristics that people look for in the leaders and role models of their society. There is a greater expectation on leaders to take responsible actions for addressing societal issues than there is on offering high quality products and services. In fact, being featured on a list of top performing CEOs is the least important element in helping to establish trust. The gaps in performance can also be found in the areas where expectations are high, with treating employees well being perceived as the area where CEOs are most lacking across the region. Fortunately for those organizations and leaders who are choosing to take an active role in wider issues, the benefits often spill over into other areas, with employees working for such companies 24 percent more likely to recommend the company as an employer, and 23 percent more likely to stay working for the company. 12
Percentage Increase In Those Who Agree With Each Statement
Hong Kong Japan
Recommend company as an employer
Stay working for the company
Confidence in the future of the company
Motivated to perform
Committed to achieving our strategy
Recommend products and services to others
Do the best possible job for the customer
For leaders in North Asia questioning what they can do NORTH ASIA to close these gaps and earn the trust of their stakeholders, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer offers some clues. All four North Asian countries stated that a CEOâ€™s personal values and the obstacles they have overcome are the most important to building trust. As one of the points where we see the most uniformity across the region, this goes to show that certain traits and personalities are an essential part of being human â€” aspects that everyone can relate to regardless of culture and background. This offers a small counterpoint to those who have observed that when it comes to building trust in North Asia, a one-size-fits-all approach is rarely the best solution. Contact email@example.com
From Empowering to Envisioning By Tony Tao, SVP, Edelman China and Kevin Wang, Managing Director, Edelman China Corporate Practice
The evolving role of the Chinese CEO After a disastrous year for trust in 2014, the events of 2015 not only restored China’s informed public’s trust to the top of this year’s Edelman Trust Index, but ensured that China begins 2016 with trust levels at an all-time high. Primarily driven by increases in trust towards business and NGOs, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer also points towards the increasing expectations of business to go beyond its traditional remit and take responsibility for wider economic and societal issues. At a time when China’s “New Normal” appears more normal than ever, and “Made in China 2025” is redefining the role of Chinese organizations on a global scale, harnessing this trust will be crucial for all institutions looking to transcend these changes. CHINA BACK ON TOP Regular followers of the Edelman Trust Barometer will have observed last year’s decrease in trust on a worldwide scale. Even China, typically one of the world’s most trusting nations, was not immune to this phenomena. In fact, China was hit particularly hard, losing its coveted position at the top of the Trust Index and falling to fourth in the global order among informed publics. This year sees China’s return to the top of the Edelman Trust Index after a surge in trust in the four institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. With an average 14
of 82 percent of its informed public expressing trust towards these institutions, China’s trust today is at an all-time high. A closer look at the individual institutions reveals that it is trust towards business and NGOs that are most responsible for this increase, restoring the ground that had been lost in last year’s Edelman Trust Barometer. China Trust Index
While some may see this as cause for celebration, it is not all good news for business. Business is the least trusted institution in China this year, behind NGOs, media and government. Compared to the global findings, where business has long been one of the more trusted institutions, there is clearly still work to be done for businesses operating in China who wish to earn the trust of their stakeholders. China Trust In…
Government In General
Media In General
Business In General
without saying, however, these opportunities can only be realized if organizations take a new approach centered on mutual benefit and purpose. It is up to business leaders to reassess their roles and responsibilities: moving their focus from simply empowering business success and instead envisioning the bigger societal issues with which they can engage and address through their organizations.
Business Must Lead To Solve Problems
THE CEO: A NEWFOUND ROLE IN BUILDING TRUST As business takes on a more prominent role in overcoming Up from 78% in 2015 the nation’s societal challenges, the public face of these “A company can take specific actions that both organizations must be one that inspires trust and confiincrease profits and dence. Fortunately for businesses operating in China, trust improve the economic and social conditions in CEOs is higher than any of the other countries in the community where it operates.” surveyed. 80 percent of the general population in China Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Q249. Please indicate how much you agree or disagree consider CEOs trustworthy, significantly higher than the 47 with the following statement? (Top 4 Box, Agree). General Population, China, question asked of half the sample. percent global general population average, where over two thirds of countries are “CEO Distrusters” on the whole. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer shows us that business With 85 percent of the Chinese general population in China is not only seen as a generator of wealth. Instead, wanting business leaders to be visible in discussing societal it must take the lead in solving economic and societal issues issues such as income inequality and public policy, it makes that our generation is facing. The slowdown of the Chinese sense that the personal values and back stories of CEOs General Every Voice Matters Population economy and the implications it has for its 1.4 billion are of more importance to today’s consumer than their Percent who trust information created by each author on social networking sites, citizens was one of the most talked about stories of the past previous education or displays of authority. Often seen as content sharing sites and online-only information sources, 2015 vs. 2016 2016 2015 year, so it comes as no surprise that both the public and the role models by the Chinese public, CEOs in China are government are calling for more action from business to able to leverage this leadership position, using their unique take the lead in solving society’s issues. personalities to communicate with their audience on the 90 In June 2015, the Chinese government launched what issues the general population cares about. As we see a new 83 78 76 75 72 it calls its “Made in China 2025” strategy, 70 a plan to “up- 73 generation of Chinese business leaders emerge, the channels 69 68 66 65 64 62 62 61 59 grade China from a manufacturer of quantity to one in which they56pursue this engagement will change. 54 of quality.” More than just a rebranding campaign, “Made With Chinese millennials placing more trust in social 35 in China 2025” embodies the government’s current desire and online channels than older generations, those CEOs to work with business to deepen structural reform and who are able to effectively utilize these platforms have an build a sustainable model for the country’s development. advantage, while creating new challenges for those unfa+17 The opportunities this presents for business in China goes miliar with today’s tools of the trade. My friends and family
A company CEO
An academic Companies Employees of expert that I use a company
Every Voice Matters
Celebrities A well-known A journalist online personality
Companies [brands] I don’t use
Percent trust created by each author on social networking Source: 2016 who Edelman Trustinformation Barometer Q598-609. Thinking about the information you consume, how muchsites, do you trust the information from each of the following authors or content creators? (Top 4 Box, Trust) General Population, China, question asked of half the sample. content sharing sites and onlineonly information sources, 2015 vs. 2016.
My Friends And Family
A Company CEO
An Academic Expert
Companies That I Use
Employees Of A Company
A Well-Known Online Personality
Companies [Brands] I Don’t Use
Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Q598609. - Thinking about the information you consume, how much do you trust the information from each of the following authors or content creators? (Top 4 Box, Trust) General Population, China, question asked of half the sample.
Personal Values and History Matter Percent who agree that each type of information is important in building trust in a CEO. 88%
Their Personal Values
The Obstacles They Have Overcome
Their Personal Success Story
Their Education and How It Shaped Them
Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Q507-514. Thinking about how a CEO communicates with a variety of groups and individuals, how important are each of the following activities a CEO could engage in? Please use a 9-point scale where one means that attribute is “not at all important to building your trust” and nine means it is “extremely important to building your trust”. (Top 4 Box, Important) General Population, 28-country global total, question asked of half the sample. [Media Engagement net = Q507 ‘Interviews with the media,’ and ‘Q512 ‘Sharing their views on a blog or on social media.’ Direct Engagement net = Q508 ‘Communications with employees,’ and ‘Participation in industry conferences.’] Q516-524. For you to trust a CEO, how important is it that you have information on each of the following aspects of the CEO’s personal life outside of their business? Please use a 9-point scale where one means that attribute is “not at all important to building your trust” and nine means it is “extremely important to building your trust. (Top 4 Box, Important) General Population, China, question asked of half the sample.
An example last year that received wide praise from the public and media was when Wang Sicong, a Wanda board member and son of its founder Wang Jianlin, provided a quick response to one Chinese social media user who expressed their dissatisfaction at a half-empty box of popcorn purchased at one of Wanda Group’s theaters. It is actions such as these that account for why CEOs are now the second most trusted creators of social content in China, behind only family and friends. When venturing outside China, these CEOs need to learn how to establish trust among audiences with different cultures and belief systems. Chinese CEOs continue to increase their influence in foreign markets — most notably Jack Ma, who now sits between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook as one of Forbes’ Most Powerful People. This worldwide visibility brings further scrutiny to the values and characters of these CEOs from a global population who place a premium on ethical, transparent and honest behavior. Today’s generation looks for leaders with relatable personalities, not by-the-book faceless executives constantly focused on the financials. When Xiaomi’s founder and CEO, Lei Jun, opted to use English during a press conference in India last year, his error-ridden speech quickly turned into an internet meme. In a previous era, Lei’s speech might have been seen as a sign of incompetency and unprofessionalism. However, Lei was instead praised for what was recognized as an honest and open attempt to engage with his audience. In a global market where trust towards organizations based in China still remains low, ranking just 14th out of the 17 countries listed, there are still huge obstacle to surmount if Chinese brands and their CEOs are to become truly global icons. Knowing the new expectations placed upon them, today’s CEOs may perhaps take a second look at how their leadership is derived, focusing not on demanding to lead but earning the right to do so. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com TRUST
In a global market where trust towards organizations based in China still remains low, ranking just 14th out of the 17 countries listed, there are still huge obstacles to surmount if Chinese brands and their CEOs are to become truly global icons. CHINA
Hong Kong Fails To Recover By Adrian Warr, Senior Director, Edelman Hong Kong and Andres Vejarano, Senior Director, Edelman Hong Kong
The year ahead promises opportunity and threat; after dramatic declines, Hong Kong’s sense of its own future is uncertain Trust in Hong Kong’s general population has flat-lined at 47 percent this year, according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, following a steady decline over the past five years. Hong Kong therefore bucks the global trend of trust rising to a post-recession high in all surveyed institutions. Economic and political uncertainty remain a factor in the special administrative region’s rank of 16th out of the 28 countries surveyed this year. This follows the 2014 “Umbrella Movement,” which protested against a voting system reform that was nonetheless proposed to the Hong Kong legislative council and vetoed, and local elections in November 2015, where the government was largely passive in posture, putting the country at a tentative crossroads in terms of trust. Despite a dramatic decline over two years, media remains the second most trusted institution among the general population in Hong Kong behind NGOs. To put this in perspective, media still ranks third globally. Hong Kongers still rely on media as a watch dog to monitor both government and business.
THE CALM BEFORE THE ? Trust in NGOs remained at 57 percent among the general population, making it the most trusted institution. It was also ranked as the most trusted to keep pace with changing times. Trust in government stayed level (44 percent to 45 percent), possibly a result of the resurgence of moderate opinion and a political middle ground that is enjoying a return to normalcy after the strong 2013 divide between yellow (initiators of the Umbrella Movement) and blue ribbon (pro-establishment) wearers. Trust in business stayed flat (38 percent to 39 percent), reflecting a balanced but uncertain outlook for the market: despite economic downturn and market volatility caused by mainland China, including the restriction of mainland visitors on the retail market and the summer stock market crash, Hong Kong maintained its position as an international business hub in global rankings. In fact, the majority of Hong Kongers said they believed business could take the lead in solving economic and social problems.
INEQUALITY OF TRUST AND THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE IN HONG KONG Globally, the divide in trust between the informed public and mass population widened, with the biggest gap displayed in nations with high income inequality. In the United States, where the top 20 percent of households own more than 84 percent of the wealth, the trust gap between the informed public and mass population was 19 points. However, in Hong Kong we witnessed only a six point gap. The largest gap in Hong Kong was in media trust. The general population’s trust in the institution declined three percentage points, in contrast to a surprising 12 percentage point increase among the informed public. This impressive jump is likely a normalization of a steady, five-year downward curve, with the 2014 post-Occupy low being an anomaly.
INFLUENCE, AUTHORITY AND HOW THE CEO CAN CHAMPION TRUST IN THEIR BUSINESS As in previous years, the findings show that businesses’ failure to contribute to the greater good erodes trust. This has a direct impact on revenue as 51 percent of Hong Kongers said they would refuse to buy a product or service from a company they did not trust. Respondents also said they were keen for CEOs to speak out on both profits and purpose, providing personal views on issues such as income inequality and public policy. Leaders who are willing and able to take responsible action to address an issue or crisis, or behave in a transparent and open way, will find such actions rewarded by consumers. In 2016, leaders and institutions have an opportunity to rebuild trust in Hong Kong through sincere action. More of the same, it is clear, will not be enough. HEY HEY, WE’RE THE MONKEYS The year ahead promises opportunity and threat. After dramatic declines, Hong Kong’s sense of its own future is uncertain, with both pessimists and optimists holding their views. Who knows what mischief the year of the monkey will bring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Sure, we’re cynical. At least we’re cynical together. By Ross Rowbury, President, Edelman Japan
Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. —The Dalai Lama Japan should have a lot to feel good about these days. Abenomics seems to be contributing to a revival in the economy, albeit a slow one, with GDP growth expected to be around 1.7 percent this year. The ratio of jobs to applicants is at a 24-year high, with significantly more jobs than applicants. Japan is returning to the world stage, hosting the Iseshima Summit this year. Relations with key neighbors have begun to thaw and the alliance with the U.S. has been considerably strengthened. Japan is to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have created a “national objective” that is bringing together different government and business factions to an increased consensus on deregulation and infrastructure development. Tourists are flooding into Japan with a 47 percent increase in inbound tourism over the past year. Yet, the Japanese choose to be cynical and skeptical about the future and their key institutions. When we first saw the Japan results for the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, a shock ran through our office of 50 people. Japanese and gaijin (foreigners) alike had more or less expected that Japan would continue to lead the world in distrust, ranking at the bottom of the Edelman Trust Index among informed publics for the second year in a row. What shocked us was the data point that only 19 percent of the informed public and 15 percent of 20
the mass population think they will be better off in five years. This is the lowest of any of the 28 countries surveyed. Five years from now, we should all be basking in the euphoria of the Tokyo Olympics. That fact alone suggests that the level of cynicism towards the future is truly deep-seated. Among the general population, there was a bit of a trust boost in all institutions. Trust in NGOs jumped 11 points among the informed public. While this would normally be a call out, we think this is more due to changing the translation of “NGO” this year to make it clearer to the surveyed audience than any major shift in perceptions around the credibility of NGOs. We will need to see another year’s data before making a definitive judgment on this. Trust in media jumped by eight points, but still remained below 40 percent. This is probably due to a rebound given there were no significant media scandals over the past year. It compares to the previous year when the CEO of one of Japan’s key newspapers was forced to make a public and formal apology for his newspaper having falsified facts during reporting. The most frequently used media according to the general population were TV, chosen by 76 percent of respondents, and search, ranking in at 66 percent.
This is followed by newspapers at 50 percent and social media at 49 percent. While globally, there is a strong swing to peer-to-peer media, with social media being ranked by 67 percent of people, the cynicism of Japan means that “validation” media saw the strongest performance — media that Japanese can actually see with their own eyes (TV) and check through their own actions (search). Social media continues to suffer from credibility issues. This is not unusual given the “anonymity DNA” of social media in Japan which began, not with the concept of sharing information, but as a way of expressing frustration and complaints which could not be done publicly in such a rigid and structured society. Only 24 percent of the general population trust what they see on social media. For the informed public, the lack of credibility is more pronounced, falling six points from last year to 19 percent. We believe this is due to the “noisy minority” being particularly active on social media during demonstrations around certain pieces of legislation brought to the Diet by the Abe Government. PROTESTORS ARE VERY MUCH viewed as being on the fringe of society in Japan, so active use of social media by those protesters has backfired and actually led to less influence rather than more. A marked difference to experiences such as the Arab Spring. There is no significant change in the lack of trust in social media over age groups in the general population. Millennials are just as distrusting as other age groups. Globally, one of the key call outs of the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer was the widening trust gap between the mass population and informed public, with the informed public generally being more trusting than the mass population. This gap sits at 12 points globally and is as high as 19 points in the U.S. and 17 points in the U.K. However, in Japan the distrust in organizations transcends income and education profiles with a gap of only three points, unchanged from four years ago. While Japan may be the most cynical country in the world, at least we are all cynical together. This is certainly due to the homogeneous nature of Japanese society. In many ways, Japan is the antithesis of a diverse society such as the
U.S. or U.K. Ninety-nine percent of the population have the same cultural, religious, education and language background. General income disparity, while widening, remains a fraction of what it is in the U.S. and U.K. Diversity is not a natural concept for such a society and this seems to extend to diversity in trust in institutions. Another striking data point for Japan is that the general population is the least trusting of their employers of any of the 28 countries surveyed, with only 40 percent of employees trusting the companies they work for. This is eight points below the next lowest country, Russia, at 48 percent and 25 points below the global average of 65 percent. This goes somewhat against the commonly held image of the loyal, committed, self-sacrificing Japanese “salaryman.” It is also a key issue for Japanese managers. Japan’s companies grew strong in the ‘60s, ‘70’s and ‘80s on the back of two key advantages: access to cheap capital, provided by a huge pool of bank savings earning substandard interest rates, and lack of manufacturing competition from anywhere but the U.S. With access to a huge pool of cheap capital, it was easy for Japanese to steal TV and car manufacturing from the U.S. Now, everyone has access to cheap capital and Japan faces competition from multiple countries. In this situation, Japanese companies must become more productive to compete for capital. This is enough of a challenge in an aging society, but it is a huge challenge in an aging society where the majority of workers do not trust the company for which they work. THE LACK OF DIVERSITY in Japanese society has been common fodder for senior executives to deny the need for concerted employee engagement programs. “We are all Japanese so we all understand each other so we do not need to make the effort to communicate” has been the common mantra. However, even in a homogeneous society like Japan, it seems that greater complexity is creating a demand for more engagement. As the 2020 Olympics approach, Japan should have more and more to be optimistic about. But the embedded comfort zone of cynicism may be a hard one for Japan’s population to break out of. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From The Informed Public To Mass Population By SB Jang, Managing Director, Edelman Korea
The inversion of trust The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust levels in South Korea have risen across all four institutions — most notably in NGOs — but still remains abysmally low in general, especially for business and government. 2015 witnessed one of Korea’s lowest levels of trust with the sinking of the Sewol Ferry. This year trust improved only slightly. Overall, trust levels are often linked to the health of the country’s economy, and in 2015, South Korea’s economy grew less than three percent according to the Bank of Korea. South Korea’s population is aging, yet spending on elderly welfare is among the lowest of all OECD countries. The youth unemployment rate is up for the third year running, and people are feeling more pessimistic about the future. Business and government are what lead the economy, and when they fail, trust in them falls. Trust in government among the informed public saw a five point increase to 38 percent compared to 2015, and it is clear Koreans still remain highly distrustful of the people that govern them. Indeed, the ruling political party of Korea is severely divided amongst itself, as is the opposition. In 2015, key bills were not passed or delayed due to internal strife, at times effectively incapacitating parliament. A slight rise in trust might be attributable to South Korea’s recent high level talks with North Korea, which hailed a landmark. Albeit short-lived, the agreement between the two sides gave rise to the first reunions 22
of separated families to take place in almost three years. The marathon negotiations, which also became known as the “three days, no nights” diplomatic talks, saw North Korea apologize for a landmine blast along the demilitarized zone border, as well as an impressive 15 point boost to President Park Geun-hye’s approval ratings, according to Gallup. Despite political victories, 2015 was a year of scandal and crisis, with a government bribery scandal involving some of President Park’s key aides, and the emergence of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) disease, which took the country by surprise and resulted in 36 fatalities. THE MERS OUTBREAK SEVERELY hit the Korean economy, with a dramatic cut in tourism estimated as high as USD 10 billion in lost revenues. At the beginning of the crisis, the government was criticized for its ill handling and doing little to ease the public’s fears. Thus, the rumor mill sprang into action and false information spread across all media sources. This could have impacted the informed public’s trust in traditional media, which saw an 11 point drop, and social media, which dropped 12 points. Interestingly, however, the pharmaceutical industry saw the steepest increase in trust this year from all industries surveyed, leaping from 50 percent in 2015
to 57 percent in 2016, the largest upward rebound in the past five years. In 2015, Hanmi Pharmaceutical, the nation’s largest pharmaceutical company, struck a series of multi-billion dollar licensing deals worldwide, while Samsung (client), the crown jewel of Korean companies, continued its heavy investment and expansion into the biopharmaceuticals industry, which is now seen as a new growth engine for Korea. Other industries also saw an overall upward trend, with technology still the most trusted at 69 percent, a full ten points ahead of the energy sector, the second most trusted, at 59 percent. But while key industries are trusted, the institution of business is not. In fact, trust in business in Korea is now the lowest among all 28 countries surveyed, standing at 35 percent for the general population. This is no surprise when the very business model Korea has built itself on — that of the chaebol family conglomerates — has come under severe public, political and legal scrutiny in 2015 with family feuds over management rights occupying the headlines for most of the second half of the year. What’s more, many heads of Korean conglomerates are still behind bars for corruption and management misconduct. Finally, Korea was also subject to international embarrassment with the so-called “nut-rage incident” which shook Korean Air and ignited people’s frustrations over these very uniquely Korean family businesses with complicated governance structures. The Edelman Trust Barometer placed significant emphasis on the role of the CEO this year. 75 percent of Koreans perceived CEOs to focus too much on lobbying, compared to 57 percent of respondents globally. Indeed, the term “lobbying” carries highly negative connotations for Koreans, and this could be interpreted as a need to improve transparency.
The 2016 study found that 60 percent of Koreans place great importance on the CEO’s focus on job creation, and 52 percent on positive long-term impact. TRUST IN NGOS REMAINS HIGH, and even witnessed a six point increase among the general population. It is no wonder that NGOs are becoming more and more trusted at the expense of government and business. Koreans are now looking towards those who represent their voice and values, qualities other institutions are lacking. Perhaps worth mentioning is the aforementioned high profile family reunions which were facilitated by the Korean Red Cross, exposing the organization to substantial news coverage in 2015. Across the board, the general population is less trusting than the informed public in Korea. The discrepancy is significant, with overall average trust levels in Korea 10 points lower for the mass population (40 percent) than the informed public (50 percent). As a result, when evaluating the status of Korea in 2016 compared to other countries, the informed public considers Korea a “Neutral” nation, whereas the mass population deems Korea to be a “Distruster” nation. This year there was an ongoing trend among respondents to trust their peers more than others and employees more than CEOs. This coming year will continue to be an interesting one, where we will see a sustained inversion of trust from the informed public to mass population. Equipped with high levels of education, fast adaptation to technology and frustration with politics, the Korean public will continue to become more tech-savvy, more cynical, more informed and harder to convince. With general elections this April, a recent North Korean nuclear explosion, and President Park’s term well past the halfway stage, 2016 will prove to be another eventful and dramatic year. Contact email@example.com
Trust in Emerging Markets By Robert Holdheim, CEO, Edelman South Asia, Middle East and Africa
Different rules seem to apply for emerging and developed markets Our annual analysis of Edelman Trust Barometer results over the past 16 years has yielded several key hypotheses: • Trust seems to exhibit an inverse relationship with a country’s level of development; • Trust in emerging markets is based upon the ability of key institutions, such as government and business, to deliver basic economic benefits — growth, jobs and access to consumer products; • Trust is as or more dependent upon hopes or expectations that these benefits will be forthcoming, as it is on a historical track record; • Trust in government is the most volatile measure of the four key institutions — and therefore has the greatest impact on overall trust scores. Once again, 2016’s results seem to support these observations. It is emerging markets, with living standards generally below those of the industrialized Western nations, which exhibit higher levels of trust in key institutions. Despite a significant “trust rebound” in developed markets this year, 10 of the top 15 countries on the Edelman Trust Index (an average of trust in the four key institutions of government, business, media and NGOs) — and all of the top six — are emerging markets. Conversely, seven of the bottom 10 are developed markets. Both of these results refer to our general population score, which includes all respondents surveyed. In emerging markets, where economic necessities are less assured, even the expectation of improvement can cause a major shift. India, for example, maintained much of its nearly 30 point jump among the general population, closing this year at 77 percent (when trust in government 24
among the informed public jumped from 53 to 82 percent). This despite what could be considered limited progress by Prime Minister Modi in delivering promised change. Overall, India held the second spot among the informed public in Edelman’s Trust Index. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) represents another case in point. The market remains one of the most trusting surveyed with an index of 66 percent among the general population, down only slightly from 68 percent in 2015. This was not enough to withstand a 10-point jump in China, pushing the UAE into second place on the overall index. When we break down the results, however, it is noteworthy that the majority of this decline comes from the informed public (falling from first to third place in our ranking, from 84 to 74 percent). The mass population (general population minus the informed public) showed very little change. This strongly suggests that the UAE drop is related to outside factors, such as regional instability (Yemen, Syria and Iran) and the dramatic decline in oil prices — more specifically, the impact of these events on expectations of continued economic performance. The fact that the UAE government remains the most trusted of the countries we surveyed, with 80 percent trust across the general population, supports this conclusion. Of the emerging markets near the bottom of the chart — Russia, Turkey, South Korea and South Africa — most are facing less than ideal economic scenarios. Take South Africa, ever the anomaly. At 11th from the bottom of our list, the economy in South Africa has given respondents little in the way of hope or expectations for improvement. Blame for this is placed squarely on the government: with trust among the general population only 16 percent
Our â€œbasic economic benefitsâ€? argument does not seem to apply to developed nations. This suggests that, somewhere between emerging and developed, the expectations people have of their key institutions shift.
(15 percent among the informed public) — the lowest of any in our study. And again, as with India, the South African government trust score is the “swing vote,” in essence determining the country’s position on our overall index — though in this case with the opposite effect. Stepping back to look at the global findings, one of the most startling results this year is the growing disparity of trust between informed publics and the mass population. This widening “inequality of trust” suggests all kinds of interesting conclusions about the disparity between the haves and have nots in the markets we look at. And, as the gulf between these groups tends to be greater in emerging markets, one would expect the trend to extend to these markets as well. THE LARGEST GAPS There is indeed a gap in emerging markets — in all markets really. The mass population is and has generally been less trusting than the informed public across the board. The largest gaps, however, are in developed markets, with the U.S. leading the pack showing a 19-point difference, the U.K. with a 17 point difference and France and Australia with a 16 point difference each. India has the highest gap among emerging markets, with a 15 percentage point differential.
The lowest gaps are found in Russia, Japan and Argentina, with a gap of merely three points, as well as Colombia and Hong Kong with a six-point gap. Given the somewhat dubious position of Russia and Japan as the bottom two on the informed public ranking (and in the bottom five for mass population), it appears that untrustworthy institutions may provide the cure for a divided society. Finally, it is worth noting that the gap is growing more in developed markets as well. Our ranking shows an increase of 12 percentage points since 2012 for France, 10 points for the U.K. and eight points for the U.S. and Spain. Over the same period we see an increase of only three points for India, China and Brazil, one point for Russia; and a reduction of two points for Indonesia, three points for Argentina and 4 points in the UAE. Our observations from past years seem by-and-large to be reconfirmed by the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. And different rules seem to apply for emerging and developed markets. In particular, the fact that our “basic economic benefits” argument does not seem to apply to developed nations suggests that, somewhere between emerging and developed, the expectations people have of their key institutions shift. Basic economic necessities are taken for granted, becoming table stakes in the critical evaluation of success. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inequities of Trust By Rakesh Thukral, Managing Director, Edelman India
In 2015, we witnessed a massive increase in the Edelman Trust Index, as India’s general population firmly placed its trust in its new government, and there was a similar increase in trust in business. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer findings are telling, as they point to huge trust inequity — a marked divide between the informed public and the mass population when it comes to trust in all institutions. While we see trust rising among the informed public, the mass population is much less trusting. And this has consequences. The traditional pyramid of influence — with elites on top — has shifted and resulted in an “inversion of influence.” Higher level of Influence now lies in the hands of the mass population. In India, the mass population (82 percent of respondents) have a Trust Index of 62, as opposed to a Trust Index of 78 for the informed public (who account for 18 percent of the sample).
TRADITIONALLY IT HAS BEEN the informed public, with access to information, who influenced the masses. This is changing — the masses may no longer follow the elite. The turning of this pyramid on its head can perhaps be explained by the rising disparity in income levels, greater access to information, to media and public revelations of misappropriations. Today, we cannot take the trust of the mass population for granted. Trust levels among the mass population are below 50 percent in more than 60 percent of countries surveyed for the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. By contrast, at a global level, informed public trust is at its highest levels. There is a 16-point gap that divides the informed public and the mass population in India, larger than the global average, which has grown to 12 points. This trust inequality correlates with income inequality: there is a double-digit gap of 22 points in trust between high-income and low-income respondents in 28
India. It also corresponds to the public’s expectations of its future well-being. For example, in two-thirds of the countries surveyed, fewer than half of mass population respondents think they will be better off in five years. The informed public in India places greater trust in business and NGOs, both increasing by three points, than with government and media, which decreased by five and three points respectively. The general population repose their trust in business the most, increasing by one point, and media the least, decreasing by seven points. The general population’s trust in NGOs has also slipped by one point compared to last year, and there is a three-point erosion of trust the government. WHILE THE GENERAL population’s faith in the government has slipped a bit, it has not eroded too much, reflecting continued approval of the country’s leadership. This presents an enormous opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to take advantage of the prevailing trust and implement his reforms and ideas. Although the Modi government has not been able to secure the passage of important legislative bills that could impact India’s business environment, it has shown a resolve to improve the business climate in the country through its “Ease of Doing Business” and “Make in India” campaigns that seek to turn India into a manufacturing hub. The reason why Indians have responded positively towards business is perhaps explained in terms of economic growth and the promise it holds for a nation that is home to one of the largest working populations in the world. For India’s impatient youth, business provides jobs and contributes to economic growth, which leads to a better life. In fact, business is the most trusted institution among the general population to keep pace with the changing times, and trust in every industry sector has gone up. There is also a strong sentiment that business must lead to solve problems: a whopping
90 percent of respondents are of the opinion that “a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.” WHILE OVERALL TRUST IN BUSINESS has gone up, trust in media has seen a decrease since 2015, both among the informed public and the general population. While that may be the case, the Indian media landscape has transformed. The informed public now places less faith in traditional and social media, and the general population has more faith in online and owned media. Trust in search engines has also seen a decline. More trust is placed in information that is sourced from friends and family on online platforms. This year in India, experts are seen to be more credible voices than leaders. But unlike last year, we have seen a big rise in the credibility of the CEO as the most trusted spokesperson to speak on different topics. Globally too,
CEOs experienced a spike in credibility, making a greater gain than experts, analysts, employees or even a person like yourself. While a CEO’s credibility has increased, his “focus” may be misaligned. The general population feels CEOs focus too much on short-term results (68 percent) and lobbying (67 percent), and not enough on job creation (24 percent) and positive long-term impacts (66 percent). WHAT THEN IS THE WAY FORWARD? Will the trust divide influence government’s decisions? Will businesses make use of this trust capital to bridge the inequity and focus on creating more jobs, providing more opportunities? Despite the challenges posed by the trust inequity, it presents businesses with an opportunity to make a difference. From their new position of strength, business leaders can earn the trust of the masses by co-opting this growing influence and moving towards sustained growth. Contact email@example.com
While overall trust in business has gone up, trust in media has seen a decrease since 2015, both among the informed public and the general population.
Growth Opportunities Lie In Digitally-Engaged Business By Jordan Rittenberry, Managing Director, Edelman South Africa
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer paints a complex picture of the current economic and social climate in South Africa. A relatively young country, South Africa only recently celebrated 20 years of democracy in 2014. Because of this, there is a push and pull in the country between trying to find its footing in the global economic landscape as a leading emerging market, and striving to reach its potential in new business sectors. THE EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER measures perceptions of trust from both the general population and the informed public on a variety of topics, from trust in key institutions to specific industries. South Africa is hungry for growth, but both groups of respondents are looking for trustworthy leaders to step forward and move the country to the next frontier. The increase in trust in business shows a unique opportunity for business leaders and CEOs to take the license to lead and inspire confidence in the face of a weakening economic climate in the country. Hand-in-hand with this opportunity is the growth of trust in online sources as a primary place for the public to consume content and get information. Trust in online media grew in both the general population (from 52 percent in 2015 to 60 percent in 2016) and informed public (59 percent to 70 percent). This shift can be attributed to a number of factors but is primarily due to an increase in bandwidth across the country, allowing more of the population to have reliable access to the internet. In 2010, only 6.8 million people in South Africa had internet access, while 24.9 million people can say the same in 2015 â€” nearly quadruple the number in five years. 30
Access to the internet, as well as the proliferation of mobile phones, shows immense potential in the country â€” primarily for social media and ecommerce. In a report, Paypal (client) has pinpointed South Africa as a prime market, as 22 percent of the population already shop online, and 48 percent intend to do so in the future. Increased security in mobile payments and accessibility to international retailers who now ship to South Africa are contributing to more people shopping online. Social media usage is also rising, with South Africa boasting nearly 12 million Facebook users, 10 million WhatsApp users and 6.6 million Twitter users in 2015. Another contributing factor to the rise of mobile and internet media in South Africa lies in the demographics of the country itself. South Africa is a young country, both literally and figuratively, with nearly 60 percent of the population under 35. Millennials are engaging more than any other generation with online outlets, and communicate with each other primarily through social media and mobile communication. WITH THIS ONLINE communications boom comes an unprecedented rise in trust in business. In the wake of slow economic growth over the past year, South Africans are hungry for someone to take the lead in tackling and discussing economic issues, and are now looking to the business sector to take the lead in the conversation. Trust in business increased from 64 percent to 75 percent among the informed public, and also remained high at 60 percent among the general population. In addition, 84 percent of the general population is looking for businesses to take the lead beyond simply
A company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates. discussing the balance sheet, agreeing with the statement â€œA company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.â€? Beyond mere economics, the general population is looking for CEOs to take the lead in discussing societal change, with 90 percent agreeing that CEOs should be visibly discussing societal issues like income inequality and public policy. CEOs have been hesitant in the past to comment on areas outside of core business areas, but we can all agree that it is no longer business as usual. As protesters increasingly arrive at the doorstep of corporate head offices, CEOs will have to be prepared to engage on these issues. This shift, paired with increased trust in online communication, provides CEOs with a perfect avenue to communicate with South Africans. Owned blogs and social media give CEOs a personal voice that the public is longing for. These platforms allow business to lead and
engage in a conversation with the public, rather than reacting to issues after they are raised. CEOs and executives have a unique opportunity to lead the conversation and instil confidence in business in this country, a sentiment that South Africans and foreign investors need to hear. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer is optimistic about the South African business landscape, and showcases the immense opportunity that has always remained on the horizon for this country. If we can take advantage of the fact that the population is looking for business leaders to step up and communicate confidence in the countryâ€™s volatile economy, and harness the potential of increased trust among the informed public in technology, there is the potential to turn South Africa into a more prosperous country. Through savvy media communications, both of these sides can coexist and lead the country to realize its potential as a major emerging economy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The Resilience of Trust By Tod Donhauser, CEO, Edelman United Arab Emirates
In the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained one of the most trusting countries in the study among the general population — second globally behind China, which experienced a 10-point increase from 2015 to 2016. As the only country surveyed in the Middle East, the UAE results reflect part of the broader macroeconomic story of the region. Against the backdrop of ongoing instability elsewhere in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Yemen, the UAE’s high level of trust is testament to the successful positioning of the country as the economic hub of the region, attracting investors, bilateral partnerships and a steady flow of expatriates to support the expanding economy. The study was conducted towards the end of 2015, coinciding with a period of sustained low oil prices and uncertainty around the effect a potential rebound would have on Iran’s re-entry into the global economy. As such, external factors are the most likely reason trust among the informed public across all four institutions surveyed dropped, while the general population sentiment remained relatively unchanged. TRUST IN GOVERNMENT AMONG the general population in the UAE remained the highest among all governments in the world, vastly outpacing the global average of 42 percent. Within the UAE, government remained the most trusted of the four institutions examined among both the general population and informed public at 80 and 82 percent respectively. This high ranking of trust in government speaks to the long-term strategy of the country leadership to create a vibrant, mixed economy diversified away from hydrocarbons, and is particularly resonant during this period of sustained low oil prices. In fact, it was announced in 2015 32
that for the first time since the discovery of oil in the UAE half a century ago, more than half of Abu Dhabi’s GDP came from non-oil sources. All of the institutions measured — government, business, media and NGOs — have seen an increase in trust levels in the UAE over the five years since the Great Recession. As mentioned, government was the most trusted institution among the general population, followed by business at 67 percent (versus the global average of 53 percent). Fifty nine percent trusted NGOs (versus global average of 55 percent) and media (versus 49 percent global average) respectively. As an institution, the government in the UAE also came out on top in terms of trust that it would be able to keep up with change, with the informed public trusting the government most to do so. OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS, trust in the energy industry in the UAE has increased by 11 points, elevating it from being among the least trusted to being the second most trusted. As in the global results, the financial services industry was the least trusted, however, in the UAE, trust has increased 16 percentage points since 2012 to 73 percent (versus a 51 percent global average), bringing it in line with the pharmaceutical industry (also 73 percent trusted), but behind food & beverage (74 percent trusted), consumer packaged goods (75 percent) and telecommunications (76 percent). Trust levels in the UAE’s financial services industry recovered twice as fast as the global average recovery over the past five years (eight percentage points). A stable domestic banking environment, underpinned by a strong Central Bank, lie at the heart of this. Recent trust increases could be due to the UAE achieving emerging market status from MSCI in 2014, and the country’s ongoing development
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
as an international financial center with Abu Dhabi Global Market opening in 2015 to complement the decade-old Dubai International Financial Centre. The UAE experienced a five percentage-point increase in the belief that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates (81 percent). Respondents further agreed that CEOs should be personally visible in discussing societal issues (83 percent) more so than financial results (74 percent), indicating that topics such as income inequality and public policy are important to be seen commenting on. General population respondents believed that CEOs focus too much on short-term financial results (67 percent) and not enough on positive, long-term impact (62 percent). In order to build trust in a CEO, respondents answered that CEOs should be visible on matters pertaining to their personal values (76 percent) and historical challenges overcome (76 percent).
Employees also emerged as essential advocates, commanding more trust than CEOs, senior executives, activists, academics and media spokespeople when communicating financial earnings and operational performance, business practices/crisis handling and treatment of employees and customers. CEOs were slightly more trusted than employees when communicating programs to address societal issues, innovation efforts and views on industry issues. When communicating via online-only information sources, the most trusted authors remained friends and family (76 percent) and academic experts (71 percent). Three sources of information gained significantly in trust online from 2015 to 2016, namely â€œcompanies that I useâ€? (71 percent, a six point increase), company CEO (67 percent, a seven point increase) and employees of a company (65 percent, a six point increase). These continued to be more trusted sources than journalists (58 percent) and celebrities (54 percent). Contact email@example.com
Business Wants ASEAN To Work By Iain Twine, CEO, Edelman Southeast Asia and Australasia
It better start to tell that story When the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially launched the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as an economic and political community in December 2015, it was hailed as a milestone in combining the economic force of a resource-rich and growing market of more than 600 million people. The AEC is a single market with a free flow of goods, capital and skilled labor, which should help the region compete for foreign investment. However, ASEAN represents a diverse set of nations that many commentators believe will make AEC a difficult dream to achieve. Our region is marked by extremes in democratization, economic progress and institutional capability. Its members range from free-wheeling to controlled democracies, and from communist-ruled states to an absolute Islamic monarchy. When you have such a diverse mix of nations, how people trust their institutions, and the capacity of these institutions to deliver on a future, will be mixed. But the very success of ASEAN and the AEC requires significant expenditure of trust capital to deliver. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer tracks trust in three of the main players in ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. While 2016 has seen some movement in trust across the general population of these nations, there is a relatively positive trust base to work from. Across both the informed public and general population, Indonesia and Singapore are high trusting nations while Malaysia is neutral. This gives ASEAN a better base to work from than a “same same but different” construct like the European Union. The “Eurocrats” would go wild with this sort of trust base. Imagine the new regulations for bananas they could create with what ASEAN has. 34
The challenge the ASEAN governments face is that while they enjoy high levels of trust in government, they are not necessarily seen as the best institution to drive forward change. The general populations of Indonesia and Malaysia believe that business is more trusted than government to keep pace with change. Indonesia has a 12-point gap in favor of business, and Malaysia has a significant 27-point gap. In Singapore, business lags behind government by three points. The job of explaining the benefits of AEC has fallen at the feet of government. Yet, outside of Singapore, government in Indonesia and Malaysia are seemingly not best equipped to tell that change story. Business is. AEC is about change. Each of the member nations are required to reduce regulation, decrease tariffs and allow for the freer movement of labor across borders. Significant regulatory changes that need to be communicated and understood. Business stands to benefit the most from the AEC, and yet to date has been eerily quiet. In various forums around the region, when business has debated the likely success or failure of the AEC, the elephant in the room has always been Indonesia. One of the biggest concerns from regional business leaders is that AEC will be difficult or will fail because they do not believe that Indonesia will adhere to the conditions and open up its economy. Yet, over the past five years in Indonesia trust in all institutions has risen dramatically. In 2012, the Edelman Trust Index for Indonesia among the general population was 54 percent. In 2016, it stands at 62 percent. The informed public in Indonesia has followed the global trend and is 10 points more trusting of the four institutions.
The mass population now has the power and the elite needs to release its grip on it and start to make real change that impacts our communities. SOUTHEAST CHINA ASIA AND AUSTRALIA
This is a good sign for the AEC. While Indonesia did experience a dip in trust since 2015, the continued high levels of trust indicate that if government and business in Indonesia get behind the AEC, it could be seen as a positive. The challenge is that both institutions have yet to get behind the AEC and deliver the boost it now needs. If Indonesia does get behind the AEC, and business begins to trust Indonesia, then business is presented with a phenomenal opportunity to lead. In Malaysia, 85 percent of the general population believe that “a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.” In Singapore and Indonesia, 81 percent of the general population agree with this statement. It is clear that the general population wants more from business, and at this moment in time, it trusts business enough to deliver on the objective of the AEC to drive up living standards for everyone across ASEAN.
That cocktail of high trust in business as an institution, high trust in business’ ability to adapt to change and the desire for business to improve the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates is a potent one. Its potency is increased by the flipping of the pyramid of influence. The mass population now has the power and the elite needs to release its grip on it and start to make real change that impacts our communities. In the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer we said that it was business’ time to lead globally. In the context of ASEAN and the AEC, it is 2016 that is truly business’ time to lead. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Navigating the Great Dividing Gap By Steve Spurr, CEO, Edelman Australia
Diverging trust levels are at an all-time high, with low levels of optimism and concerns over income inequality making for a complicated year Slowing economy, contracting commodities sector, unaffordable homes and a new prime minister every year — trust in australia must be at an all-time low, right? Wrong — it is actually at a five-year high. The Edelman Trust Index is the average trust across the institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organizations. Within this index Australia has risen from 52 to 63 percent — shifting Australia from a neutral trusting nation to a trusting nation in the 28 country study amongst the informed public. So what is driving this increase in trust? The big changes are trust in the institutions of business — up a staggering 17 percentage points — and government — up 11 points. The jump for business is one of the biggest
Increasing Trust in Australia Percent trust in the four institutions of government, business, media and NGOs, 2015 vs. 2016 72 66 65
60 54 2015
+11 Informed Public
Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Q11-14. Below is a list of institutions. For each one, please indicate how much you trust that institution to do what is right using a nine-point scale, here one means that you “do not trust them at all” and nine means that you “trust them a great deal.” (Top 4 Box, Trust) Informed Public and General Population, Australia.
changes in the global study, suggesting that the new Turnbull government and a perceived better business environment have given a significant bump to trust. This improvement in trust is also mirrored in the general population, with an increase from 42 to 49 percent, however, the rise is smaller and shows a different picture from the Australian population, remaining in the distrusting category. Although trust is increasing amongst the general population, it is much higher and rising faster amongst the informed public. If you further analyze the gap by removing the informed public from the full data set, the Edelman Trust Index of this remaining group — we have named the mass population — is 47 percent. In Australia, a 16 point difference in trust exists between the informed public and the mass population, while globally the gap is 12 points. This trust gap has a tangible impact on expectations of our economic prospects over the coming five years. The informed public is 10 percentage points more optimistic than the mass population (41 versus 31 percent) although neither score is a ringing endorsement from the country — Australia is the fourth least optimistic nation in the survey after Japan, France and Germany. If expectations set reality, we are in for a tough time. This is a significant and troubling gap and it is important that we try to understand what is driving this disparity. First, this isn’t a brand new trend. In 2012, the Australian gap between the informed public and mass population was 14 percentage points. It is interesting then that Australia, tied with the Netherlands, had the second largest gap globally, after Sweden. Other nations are catching up to an issue that the Australian public was already concerned with back in 2012. Unlike the Netherlands and Sweden, who have managed to reduce their trust gap over the last five years, Australia’s is still growing at 16 percent and is only smaller than the U.S. and U.K.
A Great Divide Percent trust in the four institutions of government, business, media and NGOs, 2015 vs. 2016 63 58
16 Point Gap
14 Point Gap
47 Informed Public
Source: 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Q11-14. Below is a list of institutions. For each one, please indicate how much you trust that institution to do what is right using a nine-point scale, where one means that you “do not trust them at all” and nine means that you “trust them a great deal.” (Top 4 Box, Trust) Informed Public and Mass Population, Australia.
Second, Australia bucks global trends on trust differentials driven by income differences. When looking at the richest quartile versus the poorest quartile, the gap in trust is only 7 points, one of the smaller gaps in the study. Finally, if income does not account for the differential, we need to look at the other demographic differences between the informed public and mass population. These are 1) active engagement with news media and 2) an interest in current affairs. This would suggest that being an active participant in the information economy and engaged in current affairs drives trust within Australia. Conversely, lack of engagement and interest in the institutions that shape our lives leads to distrust and pessimism. I have no doubt that part of the trust jump among the informed public is due to the survey taking place a few months after the departure of gaffe-prone Tony Abbott, gifting Malcolm Turnbull a bounce that will soon wear off if action does not quickly follow. The data suggests that the answer lies in bringing more people into the information and ideas economy. Turnbull’s recently unveiled innovation policy could deliver just that, but it has to engage and reach the general population to make a meaningful change in Australian society. Given Australia is in the top-five nations most trusted as a global corporate headquarters, helping business capitalize on brand Australia needs to be both a business and government objective. With an election looming, Turnbull has to be careful that he has a message for every Australian. The recent large and increasing gaps in the U.K, U.S. and France between the informed public and mass population have led to the emergence of populist politics that the informed public often does not understand. Turnbull has to ensure that his campaigning and plan for the economy resonates with everyone if he intends to stay in power.
THE FIVE KEY LESSONS FOR BUSINESS in the Trust Barometer when it comes to the general population are: • Leaders need to be authentic and human–sharing values and personal challenges are the two largest drivers in building trust in leaders, rather than relying purely on their credentials for the role. • Use the right people to convey the message — a person like yourself is as trusted as an academic, expert or spokesperson on a topic (all at 59 percent or 60 percent) despite having no quantifiable credentials to guide opinion other than that they are relatable to your audience. The next most valuable spokesperson is an employee (55 percent). • Focus on your response as a business to address income inequality. Australia is the only country surveyed where addressing income inequality is the most important for business to address beyond their day-to-day business and 77 percent believe it is your duty to improve social and economic conditions in Australia as well as deliver on your business results. • Communicate how you are helping Australians keep up with the times — Australians believe you have more licence to act in this regard (63 percent) than government (44 percent). • Choose a broad media mix and invest in your own media channels — search tops the most trusted media source (55 percent) for the third year running. Social media slips from third to fifth as both online and owned media are now trusted more. It is imperative that NGOs, government, business and the media unite to ensure we overcome the great dividing trust gap that exists in Australia. If this does not happen, we are likely to derail the country’s transition from a resources-led to an innovation-focused economy. Contact email@example.com
Economic Growth Slips, Protectionism Increases By Raymond Siva, CEO, Edelman Indonesia
Last year was a challenging time for Indonesia and many emerging markets. Economic growth slipped to its slowest pace in years, as China’s foot also slipped off the economic accelerator and investors pulled or held back in anticipation of an interest rate hike from the US Federal Reserve. The resulting decline in commodity prices — which are still one of the largest drivers of Indonesia’s economic growth — combined with the rupiah declining by over a tenth against the U.S. dollar, has certainly put the brakes on Indonesia’s economic aspirations and the post-election optimism that ushered in President Joko Widodo and his new government in 2014. Indonesia also continued to face its perennial problems — choking levels of haze, political intrigue, continuing legal and regulatory uncertainty and a high-level corruption scandals. Despite the best efforts of President Jokowi — as he is popularly known in Indonesia — the administration has found it difficult to steer Indonesia over these humps and start addressing the issues of infrastructure upgrades to win confidence from international investors. However, as the slowdown began to bite towards the end of 2015, the government has certainly been accelerating its reform plans by pushing through a raft of new measures designed to cut red tape and replace underperforming ministers, designed to lure investments and gain trust as a dynamic and liberal economy. It is within this context that we examine the eighth annual Edelman Trust Barometer results for Indonesia this year. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a fall in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs in Indonesia. Among the general population, trust levels in business remains stable, while trust in other institutions have seen a significant drop. The informed public also recorded a decrease in trust across all four 40
institutions. These results perhaps reflect Indonesian’s anxieties of where their country is headed and temper the optimism that we saw last year. Revealingly, trust in government is at 58 percent among the general population, seeing a seven point drop from last year’s post-election high of 65 percent. The post-election bounce that we recorded last year has now fallen back to the more normal numbers we have seen in recent years — mimicking the trend of other countries such as Australia, India and Japan that all saw a trust rise in government after their elections and then a decline the following year. Optimism about what Jokowi could achieve as he took office has been followed by concerns over the slow pace of reform, and the realities of Indonesian politics have seen his post-election trust bounce taper out. There is definitely an opportunity for the administration to show it is walking the talk by welcoming foreign investments that create more local jobs, clamping down strongly on corruption and ensuring a climate of legal and business certainty. Media and NGOs also recorded lower trust this year, with a five and seven point decrease to 63 percent and 57 percent respectively. After many years of trust rises and optimism running counter to worldwide and regional trends, our trust results this year show that global geopolitical and economic uncertainty is being felt in Indonesia. This means that working to build trust in Indonesia — in this context of uncertainty — is more important than ever for organizations, companies and brands to protect, promote and evolve their reputations. Business continues to standout as Indonesia’s most trusted institution. Furthermore, for business and business leaders, the results showed that seven out of 10 Indonesians believe that business is most trusted to keep pace with
changing times and conditions. Business leadership and the influence of the CEO was also a key theme this year, with 79 percent of Indonesian respondents stating that CEOs should be personally “visible in discussing societal issues” — a telling 10 points higher than “discussing financial results” at 69 percent. The results also reveal that Indonesians believe that CEOs focus too much on “short-term financial results” and “lobbying” and not enough on “ job creation” and “positive long-term impact.” The data also points to high public expectations for CEOs to exhibit ethical, transparent behavior and a commitment to protecting and improving the environment in the wake of last year’s Indonesian haze disaster. THESE RESULTS DEMONSTRATE that Indonesian’s want business executives to play a greater role in discussing and solving societal issues and challenges. After another year of high-level figures behaving less than ethically, Indonesians want business leaders to lead the agenda on ethical and open practices. In other results, the influence of peer-driven media in Indonesia was preeminent this year — social media and online search are now the top two “most-used sources” for general news and information — ahead of TV, newspapers,
blogs and magazines. The interesting divergence here is in terms of “trust in sources” for general news and information — search engines are the most trusted source at 75 percent, followed by traditional media, online-only media, owned media and social media. The results this year give a quantifiable measurement of the fact that online search is now one of the first places people turn for news and information alongside social media, but more importantly that online search is also the most trusted source. This means that news sources on the first page of any search engine has taken on even greater influence. It also shows why effective search engine optimization and investing in branded digital and social content is so important. For 2016, companies and organizations in Indonesia have their work cut out to earn trust and win over a more cautious and cynical Indonesian public. The message is very clear — the people want businesses to lead and speak out on societal issues and to make progress where government cannot. Indonesians are looking for leadership from the business community to drive the country forward through these turbulent and uncertain times, and the opportunity is ripe for businesses to do so. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In its most profound sense, everyone understands and has experienced ho
knows what trust is and everyone ow trust is earned and how it is lost.
Winning Trust By Robert Kay, CEO, Edelman Malaysia
Business to investigate social purpose. The media may need to be more investigative. Malaysia’s fifth edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed a dip in trust among the general population across three key institutions — business, media, and government. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recorded an increase in trust across both the informed public and the general population to regain their position as the most trusted of the four institutions surveyed, underscoring the Malaysian publics’ belief that NGOs can shape and influence policies in the near future. Globally, trust in business bounced back among the general population, with a five-point increase in trust to 53 percent, reversing the five-point drop from the previous year. The survey also recorded an increase in trust in business among the informed public in 22 of the 27 countries surveyed. In Malaysia, however, the general population’s trust in business continued its recent downward trend, declining two points to 58 percent — though business remains the second most trusted of the four institutions, and the most trusted to keep pace with the changing times. Malaysian businesses are expected to take the lead to solve broader social challenges. Eighty-five percent of the Malaysian general population agree that it is not incompatible for a company to take specific actions that act to increase profit margins and simultaneously improve economic and social conditions in the communities where they operate. Six out of 10 people from the general population believe CEOs put too much emphasis on 44
short-term financial results at the expense of highlighting the long-term positive impacts and job creation that businesses provide. Leaders of Malaysian business can do much more to acknowledge and discuss issues such as income inequality and public policy, as they have permission to share their personal views on societal issues. A CEO’s personal values are seen as an important factor in building trust in a CEO, as are the obstacles they have overcome, their personal success stories and how their education helped them. IN TERMS OF SPOKESPERSON CREDIBILITY, CEOs are marginally more credible spokespeople than last year, however, Malaysians remained most trusting of their academic experts. The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer also revealed a significant six-point jump in trust of peers or “a person like me” as a credible spokesperson, for the first time eclipsing CEOs and perhaps reflecting an extension of the way peer to peer influence has increasingly impacted media and purchase behavior in Malaysia. NGOs were the only institution to record an increase in trust with both informed publics and the general population, as key institutions such as government, media and business experienced a dip in trust levels. For the general population in Malaysia, the sharpest declines in trust were in business (decreasing two points) and government (decreasing seven points). This is driving the overall decline in trust for this audience.
The government faced significant issues in 2015 around alleged corruption and general freedom of expression. The real and perceived lack of transparency and wide-spread allegations of mismanagement at GLCs appears to be impacting trust overall. With its recent introduction of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the government has made a concerted effort to ensure that terms of the agreement are understood by the general population, perhaps learning lessons from the introduction of GST. These initiatives appear to have received positive feedback as the government looks to restore trust and credibility where it can. Malaysia had one of the highest increases in media trust among the informed public globally. One hypothesis could be the high profile, year-round coverage of alleged corruption at 1MDB.
Extensively investigated and covered by online media, it led to the suspension and temporary closure of two media platforms. In speaking out against the government, specifically the Prime Minister, hybrid media and high-profile media figures risked prosecution. This may have created a halo effect for the media landscape generally. Traditional media, however, took a sharp eight-point dip this year to 49 percent, perhaps highlighting the need for more rigorous or balanced, transparent reporting if trust is to be regained. Surprisingly, Malaysians are also less trusting of content shared on social media from the past year, with a seven-point drop to 42 percent. This could come as a result of some rampant sharing of misinformation on social media in the past year. Amid rising concerns involving traditional and social media, search engines maintain their lead as the most trusted source for information with trust at 66 percent. Contact email@example.com
Keeping the Nation in Mind By Amanda Goh, CEO, Edelman Singapore
Singapore held its fifth position in the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Index with a rebound of seven points among the informed public. This is a modest recovery after the nation’s poor showing last year when it had an eight-point drop and slipped from the top three in the Trust Index. After an emotional and nostalgic 2015 — when Singapore celebrated its 50th anniversary and mourned the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — the results reinforce efforts made across all four institutions to reignite and rally the nation. The informed public’s trust in the four major institutions rose across the board, with media up 10 percent, business up seven percent, government up six percent and NGOs up five percent. Compared with the global average, Singapore’s trust in government and media saw the most significant increases. Trust in government was also reflected in the resounding 69.9 percent of the vote won by the ruling People’s Action Party in the September general election. For the first time, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer provided deeper analysis of the levels of trust in CEOs, the attributes they need to build trust and desired leadership qualities. Reviewing each institution against external forces that might hinder trust building, there are five broad themes for 2016 and beyond:
Trust in Media: An effective strategy must include online and traditional media powered by search. In Singapore, online media saw a significant trust increase of seven points to 55 percent among the general population, now taking up third spot behind search engines at 64 percent and traditional media at 63 percent. Trust in social media slipped two points to 45 percent to tie with owned media. The dip for social media could be attributed to a rise in social media scams and recent missteps by major advertisers that prompted the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore to draft guidelines for influencer engagement. That said, marketers must still consider social media as it held the top spot for reach, with 70 percent of the general population citing it as a peer-influenced source that is used several times a week. It is not surprising that trust in friends and family who post on social networking sites, content sharing sites and online-only information resources rose 12 points to 77 percent. Search comes in at a close 69 percent. Trust in traditional media in the form of television was at 65 percent. Magazines and blogs were at a low 31 percent and 24 percent respectively. Coming in below the 50 percent line are well-known online personalities and celebrities. This may be attributed to recent incidents including beauty blogger Juli Phang’s wedding commentary and other online spats.
Trust in Business: Companies must solve societal expectations by keeping pace with change.
Trust in NGOs: Work with all other institutions and leaders to drive purpose-based partnerships.
With a rise of six points, 81 percent of respondents agree a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in its community. In Singapore, businesses are expected to address access to education and training. Companies with regional headquarters in Singapore are expected to help reduce poverty issues in Indonesia, improve access to healthcare in India and protect and improve the environment in China. Singaporeans also trust business over the other three institutions to be able to keep pace with the changing times. The financial services sector in Singapore spiked significantly by 10 points to 69 percent among the informed public. This could be due to initiatives such as CompareFIRST, which extends the availability and transparency of financial and insurance services information. In addition, the value of mergers and acquisitions has almost doubled within a year, including private equity, venture capital and initial public offerings. The asset management industry has also maintained a strong growth trajectory. Finally, recent actions by Singapore Exchange — from a CEO transition to a restructuring — and increased calls for corporate transparency have all contributed to greater public and investor confidence in the sector.
With the pressure on business to solve societal problems, NGOs now need to work with companies on these opportunities. Lack of purpose impacts trust in business — 45 percent of Singaporeans will not trust a business if they fail to contribute to the greater good. Overwhelmingly, 78 percent of the general population expect the CEO to be visible in discussing issues such as income inequality, be involved in public policy discussions and have a personal view on societal issues. This is seen as more important than discussing financial results at 71 percent. Employees are more likely to advocate if companies and their CEOs are engaged in societal issues. Also, employees are more likely to recommend the company as an employer and have confidence in the company’s future.
Trust in Government: Singaporeans must be reassured to counter pessimism about their prospects. Singaporeans showed more trust in institutions to do what is right but there was a wider 10-point gap between the mass population and the informed public — likely due to a rise in income inequality. For the first time, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer asked respondents to consider the five-year outlook for themselves and their families. Less than half thought they would be better off. Government-steered initiatives, such as the Committee on the Future Economy that encourages public-private collaboration with a clear roadmap, can go a long way to reassure the public that their prospects will be better.
The Evolved Mandate for CEOs: Focus on making a difference and creating jobs. Singaporeans want CEOs to focus on positive long-term impact (64 percent) and job creation (51 percent). Also, 51 percent of the general population think CEOs spend too much time on lobbying. They expect business leaders to deliver on operations, purpose and products. But there are two big gaps (of 23 percent each) that CEOs must bridge between these expectations and how people believe they actually perform. The first is integrity — taking responsible actions and behaving in a transparent and open way. The second is engagement — treating employees well and placing customers ahead of profits. When it comes to building trust in a CEO, 85 percent of Singaporeans say the big bosses must share their personal values as a top priority. A good example is Piyush Gupta of DBS who has a broader, personal narrative. This is followed closely by CEOs sharing the obstacles they have overcome such as Hyflux’s Olivia Lum, who rose from humble beginnings, and Sheng Siong Group’s Lim Hock Chee, who transformed his family business from pig farming to Singapore’s second-largest supermarket chain. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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