Trust, Edelman and 5 reasons why online pr works better than advertising

by Steve Seager

For 10 years, Edelman has been mapping the state of play of ‘trust’ in their Trust Barometer. I highly recommend it. In their 2008 report, Edelman found that only 20% of people trust corporate or product advertising. Ouch. But no great surprise.

As for their 2009 report, it is packed with interesting stuff. I will cover a few more of those issues in other posts. (Especially dubious definitions of ‘social networks’) However! For now, I want to focus on something I touched on in one of my other posts: the power of scale.

The 2009 Edelman report says:

“When asked to volunteer a number, 60% of informed publics ages 25 to 64 in 20 countries say they need to hear information about a company three to five times to believe that the information is credible.”

Three to five times? How many times would you have to put that message out to reach someone in mass media? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? There goes your annual advertising and marketing budget! And just for one message. Thank God for the multiple brand touchpoints afforded by online PR. Here’s 5 reasons why online pr works better than advertising:

  • Highly targeted channels mean your message reaches every time
  • The positive trust from word of mouth increases messaging adoption
  • Social media messaging sticks around: mass media shouts and disappears
  • Media production costs for online pr are much lower than ad creative
  • If you are lucky, viral means your trust issue is solved first time. Forever.

Oh yes, and no-one trusts advertising. Did I mention that already? I’m glad I’m not in advertising right now. Online pr rocks.

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