Recently, Alan VanderMolen, president, Edelman Asia-Pacific, was in India to unveil the tenth edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer. The report claims to have 4,875 interviewees from around the world out of which 1,575 are from Asia Pacific. All interviewees are aged between 25 - 64.
According to VanderMolen, "the real watchout" on a trend basis is that the trust in media in India is going down. He said that this decline in trust is driven by increased competition, hence the news content was skewing towards entertainment. "Therefore, the trust in the editorial product is decreasing," he said.
The study states, that APAC countries have the highest amount of trust in the government (59%), as opposed to global trust in the government, (49%), the US (46%) and Europe (43%). APAC also has 58% of trust in business, 53% trust in NGOs and 54% trust in media. "Generally, across the markets in the region, we are a trusting lot, as compared to our cynical western counterparts."
However, narrowing it down to India, the study shows that the country has most trust in business than any other sector. (see graph above). "Business gets big credit here for being comparitively sound, for being good overseas and ultimately being seen as paternalistic." The tradition of passing down the business from generation to generation is what adds to the trust factor, according to VanderMolen.
This year, India's trust in the media has gone down by 7%, as compared to last year. "Two years ago, media was the most trusted institution in the country. If the nosedive continues at this pace, it will be a people's government next year," VanderMolen says.
Further, the Trust Barometer shows that APAC region is least trusting of countries headquartered in the BRIC countries.
In fact, India-headquartered companies are trusted by a majority only in India. (See graph below).
Technology is the mosted trusted industry sector in India, according to the study, followed by Banks and Automotive sectors. However, Indians are in sync with the rest of APAC, when it comes to placing their trust on high quality products and services, as far as corporate reputation is concerned. 65% of trust is laid on transparent and honest business practices by Indians, which also equals APAC numbers. But for Indians, it is important for employees to be treated well and that ranks at no. 3. (see graph below)
Towards the end of the study, Edelman takes a closer look at the traditional sources of information and the kind of credibility they have in India. India places equal trust on newspaper articles and conversations with friends (40% each) and 36% each on radio and TV news. (See graph below)
However, when it comes to credible sources of information in the digital medium, India trusts online search engines the most. This is followed by free content sources, social networking sites and blogs. (See graph below)
Lastly, academics / experts are trusted as the most credible spokespeople in India and APAC, with a trust factor of 62%. At no. 2 for India is financial or industry analyst and a CEO, who is trusted at 58%. (see graph below)