Just who do they trust: Where your brand needs to lay its alliances

With so many media platforms available to consumers, the amount of information being shared on and offline is ever-increasing. For this reason, it is becoming even more important for consumers to make choices between different media options when hunting for information on businesses.

One of the more influential deciding factors is which platform can be trusted. While in the past traditional publications, like authoritative newspapers and television broadcasters, were once considered the top dogs in this respect, a rising star in corporate data sharing has now stolen the spotlight.This is according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, published January 19. The report, which collected opinions from 33,000 respondents across 27 countries, found that online search engines are now considered the most trustworthy source of corporate information. 

The rising authority of online search

Close to three-quarters of millennial consumers (72 per cent) believe online search engines are an authoritative source of business news and insights. This is ahead of traditional media on just 64 per cent. 

Perhaps more surprising, the CEO of a company is not considered a credible source of information, with only 43 per cent of consumers from all ages believing the executive will pass on the information they need. In fact, even social media outstrips the business leader, with 48 per cent of respondents choosing this as a trusted source.

This demonstrates just how important it is for businesses to align themselves with the right influencer and media platforms to get their message across to customers. With trust of CEOs particularly low, many people are turning to Google, television and newspapers for the information they seek.

The good news for brands

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps companies can take to leverage the changing trust landscape among their consumers. The first, and perhaps most important, action is to monitor your brand over different media

Keeping tabs on your company's reputation on social media, television, search results, online newspapers and more can help you to quickly discover when potentially influential stories about your products, business or industry are being shared with and by consumers. 

While relying on business-led press release distribution can help you connect with around half of the informed public - 47 per cent of respondents to the Barometer said they were willing to trust owned media - not watching for further news and opinions on and offline can mean you are missing the bigger picture.

Furthermore, creating your own content and getting your voice heard via different media channels can have a significant benefit for your company. This is demonstrated as 60 per cent of consumers are now more trusting of social media sites and blogs owned by businesses, compared to the related content created by a journalist (53 per cent).

This shows that although there is a shifting dynamic in trust among consumers, businesses should continue to develop owned media as well as monitoring the platforms gaining traction across the globe. 

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