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EdelmanBerland-Informed-Public-Belief-in-Company-Info-Jan2013How many times does an informed consumer need to hear something about a company to be convinced it’s true? More than twice, for most of them, according to results from the “2013 Edelman Trust Barometer.” The online survey of 26,000 general population respondents across 26 countries found that a plurality 35% of those identified as “the informed public” need to hear company information 3 times to believe it, while another 29% need to hear it 4-5 times.

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.

Small Businesses Trusted Over Large Corporations

The study also looks at how consumers place their trust in corporations of different sizes. In the US, 86% of informed consumers trust small businesses, while just 55% trust big businesses. A similar gap is apparent in the UK (78% vs. 48%), but the opposite is true in China, where 89% trust big businesses compared to 65% for small businesses.

In fact, whereas informed publics in developed countries are more trusting of small than big businesses (76% vs. 53%), emerging market respondents placed more trust in big businesses (79% vs. 70%). Overall, small businesses are slightly more trusted than big businesses (70% vs. 62%).

Looking at company types, the study finds that trust in media companies rose from 52% of informed publics globally in 2012 to 57% this year. Within the US, trust in media companies crossed into the majority, increasing from 45% to 51%.

About the Data: The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer research was conducted October/November 2012. The online survey sampled 26,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 5,800 informed publics in two age groups (25-34 and 35-64) across 26 countries. All informed publics met the following criteria: college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business ⁄ news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week.

Informed Publics numbered 500 respondents in the US and China and 200 in other countries. When making comparisons between emerging and developed markets, the study examined the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan for the developed bucket, and Brazil, Mexico, Russia, India, and China for the emerging category.

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