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Trust – the bedrock for business

February, 2021

Trust is at the heart of every decision we take, whether it’s the technology we buy, the car we drive, the business we buy from or recommendations to others – or the politicians we vote for. Andrew Metcalf, Director of Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim, considers what it means for business.

While trust is sacrosanct, the problem is that we increasingly don’t know who or what to trust. An interesting annual insight is to be found in the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, now in its 21st edition, which highlights a number of timely issues for UK businesses.

The barometer’s findings suggest business is ahead of Government and even Non-Government Organisations, making business the only trusted institution in 18 of 27 countries – including the UK – with a score of 61%.

Opportunity knocks

We all know trust takes years to build, seconds to break, forever to repair. Trust brings great responsibility and we must do everything to maintain it, as it presents businesses with the opportunity to bring about positive change through influence.

Trust provides businesses with a platform on which to speak, to raise an issue, to generate debate and make things happen. It also gives businesses the credibility to challenge and hold others to account, to be a critical friend of those in power.

The key to success is engaging with those on which you as a business can make a difference, building on the trust you have already generated.

Shaping the conversation

At the moment, the Government and businesses are rightly focused on the Covid recovery, with Brexit a close second as the fine detail of the UK-EU trade agreement comes into sharp view.

The full economic repercussions of Covid and Brexit on the UK, and its place in the world, present businesses with an opportunity to influence change and to propose new ways of doing things.

The conversation is already about restart and recovery, the challenge is making that a reality as restrictions gradually ease.

However, the agenda will move on, and there are signs it already is:

  • Climate change debate is re-emerging as we get closer to the UN Climate Change Conference, with the UK hosting it in Scotland in November;
  • Global Britain is on the table with the UK taking on the Presidency of the G7 group of nations;
  • We’re looking to rebuild our High Streets and town centres; and
  • Devolution will continue to be an issue and focus minds before and after the Scottish Parliament election in May 2021.

For business to influence the agenda, it needs to provide fact-based cases for change, demonstrate trust, show empathy and offer partnership to deliver solutions to real-life problems with a common purpose and commitment.

Which is why it’s important for businesses to engage with politicians and policymakers to influence positive change – and why Maxim has been advising clients on it for more than 25 years.

Andrew Metcalf - Director

Andrew Metcalf

Maxim / Director

posted in: advice, public relations, reputation management,

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