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Edelman’s 2023 Brand Trust Report: What brands and agencies need to know

Edelman’s 2023 Brand Trust Report: What brands and agencies need to know

Edelman Trust Brometer

The folks at Edelman recently released their latest Trust Barometer research. The report is a must read for business leaders, marketers and agency execs everywhere.

The Edelman team has studied trust for nearly 25 years and the annual Edelman Trust Barometer research is a cornerstone to that work. In our current highly polarized and rapidly changing world, it is a full-time job staying current. The Trust Barometer is a magic way to be updated on critical changes to a wide variety of the world’s constituents.

In the latest Trust Barometer, Edelman took a hard look at both Gen Z and the purchase funnel. Gen Z is impacting all aspects of life. This is a group unlike any previous generation and has an outsized impact on values, business, politics and the older generations. The purchase funnel, on the other hand, is an age-old concept that needs updating.

To help marketers and their agencies get the most out of this latest report, we’ve summarized some of the report’s key findings and have provided some recommendations.

Here’s is what we learned!

Consumers feel vulnerable, and brands need to pay attention.

Consumers are feeling threats from literally all directions. Just a sampling of the factors worrying over half of consumers globally include climate change, inflation, global conflict, their health, rights & freedoms and misinformation.

Personal and societal Vulnerability

This avalanche of stress provides risk and opportunity to brands. Consumers are looking to place their trust in something, and they often look to business and brands for that safety net.

Trust is a top 3 consideration when buying a brand. Brands that increase a consumer’s sense of safety and security are much more attractive than brands that spark a sense of adventure and thrill seeking. And 71% reported “it is more important to trust brands I buy or use today” than in the past.

Consumers Grows
The net of all of this is just how aware, interested and discerning consumers are about the brands with which they choose to have relationships. 
“This new world of brand building is equitable to a new world of consumers. It marks a shift away from the traditional modus operandi for being a successful brand, towards one that connects deeply and consistently with today’s vulnerable, yet challenging consumer.”
– Edelman Global Chief Brand Officer, Jackie Cooper

Gen Z casts a huge shadow.

The Gen Z impact is changing the face of business globally.

There has been a 7-point increase in people who say that Gen Z has influenced where and how they shop, from 61% to 68%, in just one year. And this impact is even greater on older consumers: there has been an incredible 12-point increase for consumers over the age of 59, and a 9-point increase for consumers between the ages of 43 and 58.

Gen Z also influences consumers’ expectations for a brand’s environmental friendliness, diversity in its advertising, and even diversity of its employees. And notably, Gen Z exhibits the highest need for brand trust. As the Gen Z influence is further realized this need for trust may have a multiplier impact across all generations.

The historic idea of a purchase funnel is limiting.

The Edelman folks have concluded that the purchase funnel does not reflect the modern-day brand-consumer relationship. The funnel is a one-way conversation ending with purchase. 78% of consumers say that they uncover things that attract them to a brand and drive loyalty after the first purchase. This means that the “purchase” is just the beginning of a two-way relationship. The Edelman view is that this relationship is better represented by an infinite loop of interaction and engagement between brand and consumer. Consumers want interaction rather then to be “sold”.

Purchase Brand
These findings from the Trust Barometer are similar to what we’re seeing at Mercer Island Group.

What does this mean to marketers and agencies?

Mercer Island Group’s advice is:

Get your own free copy of the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer

You can download it here.

Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Our 6,000 people in more than 60 offices deliver communications strategies that give our clients the confidence to lead and act with certainty, earning the trust of their stakeholders. Our honors include PRovoke’s Global Agency of the Year (2022); Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards for PR (2016) and the Entertainment Lions for Sport (2021); a Gold Lion in the Sustainable Development Goals category (2022); Cannes Lions Independent Agency of the Year for the Entertainment Track (2021); Cannes Lions Co-Independent Agency of the Year for the Good Track (2022);
and Advertising Age’s 2019 A-List.
Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Zillow Group, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Ulta Beauty, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.