32% of “informed publics” in 20 countries around the world say they trust traditional information sources a great deal, representing a 10% rise from 29% in 2011, and remaining ahead of online sources, which rose 18% from 22% to 26% of these respondents, according to survey results released in January 2012 by Edelman. Social media showed the largest growth in trust of the various media sources, with 14% citing a great deal of trust, up 75% from 8% in 2011. And the proportion showing their faith in corporate sources of information has also jumped, rising 23% from 13% to 16%.
The report defines informed publics as aged 25-64, college-educated, in the top 25% of household income per age group in their country, and reporting significant media consumption and engagement in business news and public policy.
Trust in media rose from 49% to 52% of informed publics worldwide, although remained below half for the general population of the 25 countries surveyed. Among the US informed public, the rise in trust was more pronounced, up 67% from 27% to 45%.
Other institutions did not far as well, though: among informed publics globally, trust in government fell 17% from 52% to 43%, while trust in business and trust in NGOs both fell 5% (from 56% to 53%, and 61% to 58%, respectively). Trust in all institutions was higher among informed publics than among the general population.
Interestingly, the proportion that needs to hear something more than 6 times is on par with the proportion needing to hear it only once or twice (both at 19%).
Although two-thirds of the general population respondents say that it is very or extremely important for a business to listen to customer needs and feedback, only 36% say that specific companies are performing very or extremely well at doing so. Similarly, while two-thirds cite the importance of offering high quality products or services, less than half say companies are meeting their performance expectations. Other disparities between business importance and performance include companies placing customers ahead of profits (37% points) and communicating frequently and honestly on the state of business (31% points).
About the Data: The Edelman results are based on an online survey in 25 countries with over 30,000 respondents. There were 1,000 general population respondents per country aged 18 and older. There was an oversample of informed publics, with 500 in the US and China and 200 in other countries. Trending data for informed publics was for those aged 35-64.