The public presentation of the survey report, which was the 17th edition of the annual global trust and credibility survey by Edelman, was launched for the first time in Nigeria, courtesy of Chain Reactions Nigeria, a leading vibrant Public Relations and Integrated Communications consulting firm. The event held at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The global survey carried out by Edelman Intelligence consisted of 25 minutes online interviews conducted between October 13th to November 16th 2016 in which more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries were sampled on how much they trust four institutions namely government, business, media and non-governmental organisations to do what is right.
Managing Director/Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, while speaking at the event, attended by eminent personalities across the marketing communications industry, private sector, the media and civil society, revealed that one of the key insights in the survey was the widening trust gap in the four key institutions. He said this should challenge practitioners in proffering innovative solutions for managing the reputation assets of their clients.
“The survey report is significant because it documents insights and knowledge to help governments, businesses, media and non-governmental organizations to proactively build and raise their trust equity as a major factor that impacts organisational reputation,” he stressed.
Opayemi further stated that the launch of the report was a significant milestone for Nigeria because it underscored the strategic importance of the Nigerian market to Edelman. “Chain Reactions and Edelman will be helping interested Nigerian businesses to build their asset of trust and reputation around this. It is our hope that those of you here today saddled with the responsibility of managing the reputation of different corporate brands will do the same for your respective brands. We intend to use this as a foundational step to help Nigeria establish the Nigerian Trust Index which is the average of a country’s trust in the institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organizations,” he revealed.
In his presentation of the annual report, Managing Director of Edelman, South Africa, Jordan Rittenberry said: “The growth of populism has seen the mass population reject established authorities. The informed public consists of people who are educated and economically better while the mass population is made up of people who are illiterate or semi-literate and fall under the low-income earners strata. Currently greater influence lies with the growing mass population.”
“In the case of Brexit and the last American election, we saw the media combating fake news and this was witnessed all over the world with businesses being rocked by scandal after scandal. All these factors combine to show that trust is in crisis in 2017. What we used to see as the pyramid of influence is gone; no longer are the days when the better source of information is presumed to be held by the elite as there is a democratization of information and communication. What we are seeing is an emerging new model that is populist. Edelman is working with Chain Reactions to ensure Nigeria is covered in the next Edelman Trust Barometer statistics.”
Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, in her video recorded keynote speech, enjoined individuals, public and corporate institutions to embrace trust as a non-negotiable currency to trade in every area. “I consider the issue discussed very critical, and it is important going forward for any organisation especially for the nation. When trust is broken, when we can no longer trust institutions, there is a major problem because it becomes very difficult to communicate. People generally have low trust level; they tend to believe the accusation first before they find out what is true. You can see it play out in our polity, people no longer trust institutions,” she said.
Chairman/CEO, Channels Television, John Momoh, said, “The media around the world has lost credibility due especially to the emergence of social media and the traditional media has its own blame as interference like politicians, editorial policy are really weighing on media responsibility. Channels TV for instance is a network built on trust which is why the station is where it is today.”
Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Awoyemi Awoyemi, affirmed that trust is sacrosanct in all aspects of life be it private or public. “In God we trust, every other thing is data. If you are not a professional you cannot do TV like Channels TV because the only currency Channels has is trust.”
Founder, Consumer Advocacy Forum of Nigeria (CAFON), Ms. Sola Salako on her part said consumer education is very crucial and should be seen as a tool to regain trust. “Businesses need to emphasise quality, pay tax as good corporate organisations and government needs to religiously implement what they promise the electorate,” she noted.
Other speakers included President, Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. John Ehiguese; President, Africa Public Relations Association (APRA), Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya; former President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Maxi Mike Okereke; Vice President, Nigeria Guild of Editors/Deputy Managing Director, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Steve Nwosu; Publisher, Encomium, Mr. Kunle Bakare, and Chief Operating Officer, Soulcomms Publicis, Moji Saka. Some of them featured on the two panels that discussed trust as a subject matter with the immediate Past President, PRCAN, Chido Nwakanma as the moderator. Others delivered goodwill messages.
Even though the survey has not been done in Nigeria and some other countries yet, the results are instructive for a country like Nigeria as the world becomes a global village with trends travelling across borders and time zones. There is a sense in which the patterns of trust and distrust happening globally are beginning to ensconce in Nigeria. There are great lessons to be drawn from the survey report especially for all the four institutions in focus: government, business, the media and non-governmental organizations.