Our hectic, 24-hour lifestyles have inevitably led to an increase in the number of stories required to keep up with our constantly ‘switched on’ demands, and unfortunately fewer people to produce those stories. This has unsurprisingly resulted in ‘less than accurate’ content being shared across different platforms. Add ‘fake news’ to the mix, and a multitude of channels to communicate across, and there was always going to be a consequence: a complete lack of trust and the rise of ‘mis and disinformation’.
A report by YouGov and Cambridge University found that just two per cent of British adults put a ‘great deal’ of trust in journalists to tell the truth with only 16 per cent saying they had a ‘fair amount’ of trust in journalists to tell the truth. And in case you’re thinking it’s all down to the country’s recent political shenanigans, or the ‘Brexit effect’, you’re wrong; this lack of trust isn’t solely a UK issue. A 2019 Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute surveyed 75,000 people in 38 countries and found that trust in the media is declining worldwide, with a little less than half (49%) of all those surveyed agreeing that they trust ‘the news media they themselves use’.
Clearly not great news for journalism, and without doubt there needs to be a renaissance where we see honesty and integrity surface. Interestingly, towards the end of last year there were calls for online journalism to be regulated by a global watchdog and it will be interesting to see what steps are taken in 2020.
However, this does present an opportunity for us as marketeers to position our clients as influencers and authoritative, trustworthy voices in the news space. Consumers will look to brands as the ‘shining light’ when it comes to true honest news.
So how can we do this? We need to take the time and nurture relationships with respected, and trustworthy media sources so they know that we too (as marketers) are a reliable source of information and content. That everything we send to them is 100% accurate and contains credible and proven insights. It’s also not just one ‘quick fix’ – according to a recent study on ‘Trust in communicators’ it’s not what’s said that matters, but who said it, with external advocates cited as being more trusted than communications experts (which really resonates when you’re working in the comms industry, and particularly when you have the letters PR in your job title!).
In addition to ensuring that we always provide credible, accurate and appropriate content to our media contacts or across social platforms, it’s also crucial that we can point to that ‘independent voice’ or advocate to support what we’re saying. Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer found that 63% of people trust influencer messages more than brand messages so it’s clearly our responsibility to nurture trusted networks, only work with authentic influencers and legitimate resources. We need to ensure that all of our narratives are held to a high standard – 52% of British people believe a brand should be able to express an opinion on a certain topic (YouGov) – and that we undertake detailed fact-checking and that all research data we use is fully verified.
Nothing new, but something we all need to be mindful of in 2020. Here at KISS we’ve written a lot about dealing with fake news and working with influencers to understand how you can start building authenticity. We understand the importance of truth and trust in all forms of communication – if you want an impactful a 2020 campaign based on these principles give us a call.