Yesterday morning in London, Richard Edelman unveiled the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer. It’s the twelfth year that we’ve conducted the study, which tries to answer the seemingly simple question: “Who do you trust?”

One thing is clear from this year’s research: It isn’t your CEO.

Globally, only 38% of informed publics think CEOs are credible spokespeople. That’s down from 50% last year.

On the other hand, trust in a ‘Regular employee’ showed a dramatic rise from 34% last year, to 50% this year. ‘Regular employee’ trailed only academic, technical experts in the company, and person like yourself as the most credible spokesperson your business could put forward. You can view all of this data on slide 21 our global trust presentation.

We’ve been talking about social business here and elsewhere for a while, but for me, no single piece of data has made a more compelling case for social business.

In a world where employees, whether technical experts or regular folks, are a company’s most credible spokespeople, every business simply must understand how to organize and empower employees to interact successfully in social media.

We have some practical thoughts what this means and how to make it happen, but the bottom line is that it’s time to expand social thinking from brand marketing and communications to the whole enterprise. That won’t happen overnight, but as the Trust Barometer shows, it’s important that the journey begin.


Edelman’s London office is hosting a panel discussion on Social Business on the 14th of February. The event will be held at 105 Victoria Street London , SW1E 6QT, 8:30-10:30am.

You can register and find more details here.

Image credit: Lars Plougmann

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