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June 26, 2021

The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust, The New Brand Equity, surveying 14,000 consumers in 14 countries, concludes that brands have an unprecedented responsibility to improve society. At the onset of the pandemic, consumers asked brands to be their savior, to protect them with affordable products while insisting on proper treatment of employees on the front lines. Today, our research shows a change in attitude, as consumers believe they have the power to force brands to change (63 percent) and want to exert that power on brands to make society better (78 percent). The deeper dependence on brands forged in the pandemic has made trust an essential purchase consideration, nearly equal to quality and value.

In return, brand trust clearly drives growth, with 61 percent of respondents prepared to advocate if they fully trust a brand, 57 percent prepared to purchase a new product or service, and 31 percent willing to share personal data or participate in activities sponsored by the brand. Those brands emphasizing only functional aspects earn an Edelman Brand Trust Score of 27 but those changing culture achieve a score of 65. Consumers are 4.5 times more likely to buy if a brand addresses human rights, 4x more likely if it speaks out on systemic racism and 3.5x more likely if it takes on economic inequality.

Four years ago, we saw the rise in ‘belief-driven buying,’ driven in part by the belief that brands were better able to address major societal challenges than Government. In the wake of the pandemic, there is a further evolution from Me to We. Value, customer safety and putting people before profits have soared in importance (up 37 points) while personal image, trendiness and excitement are down 15 points. Nearly two-thirds of respondents say that they are more attracted to brands that focus on making the world a better place while slightly more than a third want brands to focus on individual benefits.

To download report, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

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