Edelman Trust Barometer 2022: Mistrust threatens growth

I have been analyzing the trust barometer that every year at this time the company gives us for some years Edelman. The Edelman Trust Barometer report 2022, which is now in its twenty-second year, surveyed 36.000 respondents in 28 Countries.

In 2018 it seemed that trust was polarizing, In 2019 A timid recovery of confidence appeared, In 2020 the report came out before the pandemic, and pointed out that ethics and competencies were the key to Trust. And 2021 it already reflected a major drop in the wake of Covid responses.

This 2022 the direction points to governments and the media feeding a new cycle of distrust.

If you have little time I summarize it in this video:

It is not so much our trust in brands as in institutions

As a preview, only to qualify that Edelman focuses its annual barometer on trust in institutions, specifically: 

  • Public administrations, Governments
  • Companies
  • Media
  • NGOs

But if every year I include it in this blog it is because in the end, institutions are made up of people, and these people behave differently in the face of great challenges.

There are other studies on brands, like the Meaningful Brands or some from Nielsen, that we will deal with at another time. Clarified this point, let's go there:

The first on the forehead: Two-thirds of people distrust organizations

It may seem like that's not relevant., but directly affects attempts to address COVID-19 and climate change. So, Yes, is relevant.

According to the barometer, The Distrust has become the “default emotion” of society, with a 60% of people inclined to “distrust until they see evidence that something is reliable”, which could hinder progress in meeting global challenges: Covid, climate change, inequality, territorial conflicts...

Trust declines for government and media;  companies remain the only trusted institution.
Source: Edelman Trust barometer 2022

Much of the distrust comes from two major institutions.: governments and media. Governments for their inability to manage the great challenges, the media for skewing information in an absurd race to grab attention and for clickbait.

The funny thing is that governments were the most reliable institution in May of 2020, when the world was looking for leadership capable of facing a global pandemic.

NGOs and with more strength companies remain as the institutions that generate more trust.

Great leaders don't pass in trust, but yes "my" leaders

Social leaders are not trusted.
Source: Edelman Trust barometer 2022

No wonder 2 years after the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists are the most trusted members of society, by three-quarters of people, while government leaders, journalists and CEOs are the least reliable.

This point has special importance in personal brand management, as distrust in these three leading groups should be reversed to successfully meet the challenges. In a nutshell, if we don't trust our political leaders, the great directors of the media the presidents of large companies, we don't trust those who make the decisions that affect our lives and that of our planet.

Government and the media are seen as dividing forces, while companies and NGOs are considered unifying. And two-thirds of people are convinced that journalists, heads of government and business leaders are lying to them.

This graph shows that proximity increases trust. Just as the distrust in great leaders is clear., that reverts to trust when he is my close leader, my CEO, my mayor...

And I want to put special emphasis on the trust exercised by "my co-workers" (coworkers). This point represents an opportunity for people in organizations to connect (and convey trust) with people from the markets. These are the internal brand ambassador programs or employee advocacy.

Companies and their CEOs, the only hope to face the great global challenges

Better more than less business participation in social issues.
Source: Edelman Trust barometer 2022

"The failure of the government has created an over-reliance on businesses to fill the void., a job for which private enterprise was not designed", according to Edelman.

Respondents want companies to play a more relevant role in climate change, economic inequality, workforce retraining and racial injustice.

All groups of stakeholders expect companies to adopt that role, and recognize that the 60 % of consumers would buy brands based on that purpose and those values. Even two-thirds of employees ask their companies to take a public stand on global challenges. I have commented on this blog many times: TWENTY-first century companies are those that adopt a purpose and put an action plan At your service.

Trust has gone from hierarchical to local and dispersed as people trust my employer., my colleagues, My family, my company.

How to end distrust and rebuild trust

According to the barometer, rebuilding trust will require institutions to provide information based on real facts that breaks the cycle of distrust, while leaders should focus on Connect to people on common fronts, on long-term ideas and making clear progress in areas of concern.

Restoring trust is key to social stability.
Source: Edelman Trust barometer 2022

For his part, governments need controlling the pandemic worldwide. And the media must return to a business model that replaces outrage with sobriety, The clickbait by a quiet authority. NGOs have a relevant role to play in climate change and in ensuring that the pandemic is addressed equitably and globally.


1. This year's key word is #Distrust, since 2/3 of respondents distrust the institutions analyzed (Governments, NGOs, Media and Companies).

2. Only companies, and to a lesser extent, NGOs offer a trusted pass, and it is curious that 3/4 respondents expect companies to stay ahead of major global challenges (Covid, climate change, inequality…), a task for which they have not been designed.

3. Spain is where there is the greatest concern about fake news, a phenomenon that has spread with Covid and that is undermining trust in information.

4. Governments and the media are responsible for division and disinformation respectively, and therefore they are the architects of distrust.

5. Scientists and co-workers are the best trusted transmitters, contrasting with political leaders and media leaders, that suspend with low note.

6. Trust has gone from hierarchical to local and dispersed, as people trust my employer, my colleagues, My family, my company.

7. Recipes for overcoming mistrust exist for each of the four institutions, each with a different role, although it doesn't seem like something we can see in the short term.

Here you can download the full report, which measures more variables than those covered in this article: Edelman Trust Barometer 2022.

I hope you liked this article, if so, don't forget to share it. Here's the episode 57 from the podcast Everything Leaves a Mark with this theme. You can hear it in iVoox, Spotify, Google Podcast And Apple Podcast.

Stock Photos from AtlasbyAtlas Studio / Shutterstock (Cover)


The voice of my brand, Chapter 02: the value proposition

This week Celestino Martinez and I discussed the episode 02 from the new podcast The voice of my brand with the theme "Where to start the podcast for your personal brand", dedicated to the podcast value proposition, the solver, the reason your audience should listen to it and subscribe.

Here you have it in iVoox, Spotify And Apple Podcast.

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