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We’ve heard it many times: people do business with people they like and trust.

Yet, businesses and information sources face what seems to be unprecedented levels of distrust. It’s been waning over the past decade, but the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates a big dip in public trust in just the past year.

  • 62% of 25-to-64-year-olds surveyed in 20 countries say they trust corporations less now than they did a year ago
  • Trust in U.S. business is at 38%, down from 58% last year
  • Trust in business magazines and stock or industry analyst reports is down from 57% to 44%, and 56% to 47% respectively
  • Only 29% and 27% view information as credible when coming from a CEO or government official, declining from 36% and 32% last year
  • 91% around the world indicated they bought a product or service from a company they trust, and 77% refused to buy a product or service from a distrusted company
  • 60% of respondents said they need to hear information about a company three to five times before they believe it

The executive summary says, "The CEO should set forth the company’s position, but then it must be echoed by others…including industry experts, academics and ordinary citizens."

My take:

In this "crisis of confidence," authentic customer stories serve as the voice of ordinary citizens, a credible source of information for buyers.

Those in the business of creating and managing customer stories must work to keep them credible. That means, don’t overstate, inflate or misrepresent a customer’s experience. Present an honest account and public trust should follow.

2 Responses to 62% Trust Corporations Less Than a Year Ago

  1. Hi Casey,
    You make a great case for case studies here. I think you are on the crest of a wave that will rely more on customer success stories and less on traditional “marketing”.
    It’s a natural thing when you think about it — every writer is told to “show, don’t tell”. Marketing is telling, while success stories is showing.
    Love it!

  2. Hi Graham,
    Yes, you hit the nail on the head! It always goes back to the 9th grade English lesson of show, don’t tell.
    It’s so interesting to watch marketing evolve as the times demand, and this is a perfect example.