Infodemic: When confidence is left on the tightrope (Edelman Trust Barometer 2021)

Like every year for these dates, we have a new edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, one of the best studies in the world to measure the thermometer of trust. And specifically, measures the evolution of trust in institutions. The assessment is done by the general public and the informed public, in total 33.000 respondents from 28 Countries.

Covid has damaged our health as people, but it has also relentlessly brought down confidence.

If you're short on time, I summarize it in this video of 1 Minute (in Spanish):

The fall in confidence is the other pandemic

2020 has been a year of unprecedented disasters and turbulence: covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis , global protest over systemic racism and political instability,… 

Edelman's Trusted Barometer 2021 reveals a epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust institutions and social leaders around the world.

Add to this a ecosystem of failed trust, unable to cope with the unbridled infodemic, that leaves the four institutions in an information bankruptcy environment and a mandate to rebuild trust and chart a new way forward.

I remember that the four institutions are: 

  • Companies
  • Government
  • Ngo
  • Media
Infodemic / Edelman Trust

For the informed public, the drop in confidence is less, and the "gap>" increases relative to the general public. In Australia, For example, There's 22 points of difference, moving from a high-trust country (77/100) to one that's on the middle line (55/100). 

Spain maintains its low level of trust (45/100) being in the 4th country by the queue on the list. Mexico moves from the group of high-trust countries to the neutral countries, with a fall of 3 Points (59/100). Argentina loses two points, staying among the countries distrustful of their institutions (47/100).  

We trust in governments... and they failed us

Governments emerged as the most trusted institution to lead the fight against Covid-19 and restore economic health. But they failed and broke the bubble of confidence that they were given the first 6 months of Covid management.

Deniers, slow reactions, lack of support for the hardest-hit sectors, lack of fight against misinformation, lack of technical means for health groups, precipitous descaling... We could add 20 Or 30 reasons that justify falling confidence in public administrations.

Infodemic / Edelman Trust

Great leaders don't fit either

The leadership crisis is served. With a growing confidence gap and a decline in confidence around the world, people are looking for leadership and solutions, because we reject spokesmen that we do not consider credible.

The barometer reflects that we don't trust any of the social leaders: government leaders, CEOs, journalists and even religious leaders.

In particular,, CEO credibility is at historic lows in several countries, including Japan (18 Percent) and France (22 Percent). 

Media: Infodemic 1 – Confidence 0

The infodemic refers to the overabundance of information on a subject, both rigorous and false.

Without a reliable source of leadership to turn to, people don't know where or from whom to get reliable information. The infodemic has brought trust in all news sources to historic lows: 

  • Social media, fall to the 35% trustworthy, representing the worst medium.
  • Own media, fall to 41%
  • Traditional media, fall to the 53%, and saw the biggest drop in global confidence (12 points in two years).
  • Seekers: fall to the 56% (9 points in two years), and remain a more reliable means.
Infodemic / Edelman Trust

This infodemic is threatening covid-19 recovery, as the Covid-19 vaccine is suspected and doubted. In fact, who disinformat (don't check the sources), are less willing to receive the vaccine within the first year of its availability.

These fears prevent the return to the workplace, and the 58% employees choose to work from home for fear of becoming infected, don't go to vote...

Companies turn on light at the end of the tunnel

The only institution that has been up to the task has been the business ecosystem.

Infodemic / Edelman Trust

When the Government is absent, we expect companies to intervene and fill the gap, and expectations for companies to address and solve today's challenges have never been more evident.

Purpose and values: Increased business expectations drive new demands on CEOs to focus on social commitment with the same rigor, consideration and energy that are used to generate benefits.

A new leadership role emerges: the main confidence-building action for businesses is now protect the quality of information, ensuring that reliable and reliable information reaches its employees and, by extension, to the community.

Infodemic / Edelman Trust

What you see: companies represent the only institution that combines problem-solving and ethical skills.

Despite the fall, technical and academic experts and people like us are the top projectors of trust

I often treat this issue as a starting point for employee advocacy in companies. The greatest connoisseurs of products and services, either because they've been created or they're great connoisseurs (technical experts, commercial and academic) or because they've experienced them (people like us) are the ultimate trusted generators.

CEO and steering committee remain in a "non-approved" position, which should push more strongly the programs Executive Branding

Infodemic / Edelman Trust

I agree, And what can we do to regain confidence?

As citizens, to break the infodemic we have to mentalize: trust is what holds society together and where growth rebuilds and recovers.

Proposals against protests

We must continue to fight for each of the four institutions to play their part in restoring society. And not passively, with street protests, but active, promoting ideas, Proposals, Research.

  • The Companies require CEOs to lead a variety of familiar and unknown issues. Significant action is important, but also learn to communicate them assertively.
  • The social leaders Must lead with facts and act with empathy. They must have the courage to speak frankly, but also feel empathy and address people's fears.
  • The Media communication need to make sure they provide reliable content that is truthful, impartial and reliable. They must reduce the damn congnitive bias
  • The Institutions must partner with each other to solve problems. Companies, the government, media and NGOs must find a common purpose and take collective action to solve social problems.
  • And the Citizens we have to cut the disinformation chains, denounce them - if possible- and look for perspective (context is everything) before making decisions, to publish certain information or to respond without knowing the four angles of the news.

To find out more, download the report of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2021. Happy week!

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1 thought on "Infodemic: When confidence is left on the tightrope (Edelman Trust Barometer 2021)”

  1. Good morning, Guillem

    What a good question and added important detail: what can we do to help regain confidence ? because those of us who have a business profile must constantly do it to gain the trust of our client to remain a customer and for the potential we sell to help him convey that trust and also security, which I consider fundamental in the journey of sale.

    Since the internet is between us and the one we've been going to .. chances are that a customer or potential will come to us with a lot of information about us so they can fix what your business needs. So, our differential value must be in our empathy and know how to convey security, to earn his trust and to hire us, always buy.

    A greeting,


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