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Building trust is only going to become more critical for those that want to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly sceptical world.

The cycle of trust has been broken. We don’t trust our governments or banks or administrative institutions. We don’t even trust charitable organisations anymore.

The past two years have concentrated public attention on the ways in which national institutions and prominent organisations have responded in a time of crisis, and high-profile scandals have had a profound effect.

It used to be that when a political leader or the media shared a piece of information, we assumed they were doing so in good faith. Now, many of us no longer believe that people in positions of authority have our best interests at heart. We fear they’re exploiting their roles for personal gain.

But, according to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, an unlikely contender is stepping into the breach: “We see an even greater expectation of business to lead as trust in government continues to spiral.”

Create positive energy

Of course, businesses need products and services that are in demand, and ways to deliver them competitively – and they can no longer afford to ignore societal values. But building trust is only going to become more critical for those that want to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly sceptical world.

So what can business leaders do to break the negative cycle and firm up their positions in the eyes of consumers, prospects, stakeholders and investors?

Partnering with a PR agency has the potential to open up lines of communication with target audiences and cultivate a positive reputation. It can help establish a business as a category leader, challenging cynicism and building much-needed confidence.

PRs are image-shapers. We create the narratives that advance businesses’ agendas. We enhance, build and protect reputations via communication strategies, targeting traditional media, social media and events, among other avenues. We’ll analyse a business and find the positive messages that will help it achieve its goals. And when there’s bad news, we’ll develop a strategy to mitigate any damage.

Talk tactics

There are myriad methods that PRs use to propel businesses and build reputations. Here are a few:

  • Data-backed white papers demonstrate insightful, legitimate knowledge of a particular sector and build authority.
  • Thought leadership provides an opportunity to impart expert opinion on hot topics of the day. It addresses the key concerns that are keeping target audiences awake at night, helping to build trust and credibility. A good PR team will develop relevant themes, before pitching them into titles or posting them on corporate websites, and then driving interest via social media. According to a report last year by LinkedIn and Edelman, 53% of decisionmakers increased the amount of business they did with an organisation based on thought leadership.
  • Distributing press releases when there’s news to share or genuine achievements to promote helps to build credibility in the media. They enable leaders to drive their own narrative and influence opinion, establishing a positive brand story.
  • Newsjacking injects a business’s point of view into breaking news, generating media coverage. It’s a great way to build a reputation as a responsive, current and agile company with a standout point of view. Plus, it increases social media engagement and site traffic.
  • Other tactics include speech and presentation writing, hosting special events for consumer outreach and networking, crisis strategies and social media promotions.

Build relationships

As with most things in business, great PR depends on investing in a proper partnership between organisation and agency. When the chemistry is right and the PR team is given an opportunity to become fully embedded, accomplishing established goals becomes so much more straightforward. For the best results, a PR agency should feel completely integrated into the wider team.

A good PR will counsel and suggest achievable objectives based on factors like uniqueness of product or service, what competitors are saying, and what’s happening in the media landscape. It’s important to remember, too, that good PR is not piecemeal. For the best results it’s a good idea to budget enough to create a comprehensive programme that lasts beyond a few weeks.

Interact openly and honestly

Disenchanted audiences quickly move onto other service or product providers. So, whether you’re a global CEO in big pharma or the founder of a kitchen-table startup, building and maintaining trust is essential. Dependable, consistent, fact-based information is critical if we’re to break the cycle of distrust outlined in the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer.

There’s greater public scrutiny and sharing of information and reviews online than ever before, and organisations can no longer hide in the shadows. Putting an effective PR campaign in place will help businesses negotiate this much more critical landscape so that they can establish legitimate, honest reputations and drive growth.

Contact us today to find out how our expert team can help develop and implement your tailored PR strategy.