The "Trust in Communicators" (TiCS) study has been conducted by researchers from Leipzig University, Leeds Beckett University, and IULM University Milan within the framework of EUPRERA, facilitated by Cision Insights and Fink & Fuchs. It is linked to the European Communication Monitor research project. The study combines representative polls of adults aged 16 to 64 from Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom with a survey of communication practitioners in the same countries.
The public poll highlighted that communication and PR professionals are trusted and recognised more highly in the UK than in Germany or Italy. However, the general public has a high-level of distrust in these professionals. A trust gap was identified between communications and PR professionals and journalists, but it was not as wide as expected and is closing.
Information about organisations is often spread by people who are not acting in a professional communication role – i.e. organisational advocates such as supportive customers (fans, brand ambassadors), experts in the field (academics, consultants) or activists with overlapping interests. The polls found that external experts are the most trusted of these advocates, but all are trusted more highly than communication and PR professionals. Efforts should be focussed on enabling these advocacy groups to promote the trust-building process. The polls also revealed that the general population has fuzzy perceptions about the goals and activities of PR professionals.
Whilst communication and PR professionals misperceive the public’s opinion about them and overestimate public trust. These professionals also misjudge their role in the trust-building process and ignore public trust in external advocates.
The full report (PDF, 38 pp.) is available for download.