‘The Ultimate Currency’: How Edelman Cashes in on Trust
For the world’s biggest PR firm, trust isn’t earned—it’s sold.
It’s a measure of how corporate leaders increasingly view “trust” as a commodity they can buy, sell, and market to their customers and employees that the business world’s go-to gauge of public trust in society is now produced by a PR firm.
In my latest story for The Guardian, I explore how Edelman, the world’s biggest public relations company, has succeeded in profiting off of the concept of trust: “The world’s biggest PR firm claims to be an expert on trust—but is it?”
At the elite gathering of the World Economic Forum, which kicks off tomorrow, Edelman will release the new edition of its trust barometer, its annual survey of trust in society. The problem, as the story shows, is that “even as Edelman promotes its brand and pursues clients with stern warnings about the importance of trust, critics charge the company appears reluctant to follow its own advice.” The result is a stark divergence between how Edelman generates its reputation and how it generates revenue.
It appears that for Edelman and its clients—including more than a few of the executives who are heading to Davos alongside Edelman CEO Richard Edelman—the concept of trust has little to do with how their businesses operate and everything to do with how their businesses are perceived to operate. Perhaps that’s why the company regularly refers to trust as “the ultimate currency.”
You can read the full story here: “The world’s biggest PR firm claims to be an expert on trust—but is it?” Thanks once again to Dominic Rushe and the team at The Guardian.