Aussie shoppers trust small and family businesses the most

- February 27, 2023 3 MIN READ


For 22 years, global juggernaut PR agency Edelman has published their much-coveted trust report. The latest one delivered some good news for small businesses, writes Sue Parker, founder of DARE Group Australia.

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Report is a global and country-based collation of critical research of trust across business, political and issue sentiments, NPOs and governments.

Of relevance is how Australians trust businesses far more than they do government at 54 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

This falls well into discussing the two key findings below. But make no mistake, many industry sectors are wobbly as hell in the trust stakes and this is a call to redress and lift up. 

Trust in business type

Most readers are in the family and small business category and this survey is very good news. And it’s a call to reflect for large businesses on the nuances that impact that trust.

Business type trust graph

Trust in industry sectors

The technology sector ranks the highest at 75 per cent, with social media dribbling in at the bottom in the distrusted 44 per cent rank.

I would suggest ‘social media’ also relates to all the services and support businesses in and around social media. Think social media trainers, influencers, systems etc.

Trust is a big issue for online business sectors and consumers are wary of who to place their business trust.

But there is real opportunity here to rise above the dross for the sectors under 70 per cent and those in the neutral zone and below.

Industry sectors trust graph

Key takeaways and tips

For small businesses that sit in the zones of under 70 per cent, the opportunity to create a new perception is strong. Every sector has good, bad, ugly and brilliant. And perceptions are reality until disproved.

Use every opportunity to build trust

It’s quite seamless to communicate your differences with a feel, felt, found approach. This means acknowledging the industry issues, appreciating the response, but giving a new way forward from what you have found with your success and clients.  Bingo. Gold. But for the ethical and astute small businesses doing things differently than their competitors, what a brilliant opportunity to shine. And not in a way that downgrades the sector or competitors.

It’s about showcasing your business’ super powers and differences. It’s about demonstrating at every opportunity your values and integrity to build trust and break the perceptions.

Remember, you CAN compete with big businesses

Use the tools and research from the big end of town, such as this report from Edelman. And embrace the bold courage of bigger business brands into your own business.

Get over the belief that you cannot compete with the big guys and gals. That’s a fairytale of self doubt. As an example, when I ran a media recruitment agency (with only two to three extra staff and then I was solo), I dealt with every major media house in this country.

Remember, the solutions you provide is part of your brand promise which is delivered consistently. This is not always the case with large organisations whose service promise can fall off the wagon.

Share your story and expertise

Small businesses who are truly shifting the dial and making a real impact on people’s lives and businesses have a moral duty to step up and out in media. Given the trust levels for family and small businesses, what a golden opportunity to share wisdom and solutions in trade and broad media.

Ramp up your marketing and communication strategy. But don’t put all your marketing eggs in the one basket across earned, owned and bought media. You want to share your solutions and profile widely without fear of the rug being pulled.

Get your website right

And give real attention to your website. Your blog and the SEO of the solutions and topics will drive (over time) real Google juice for visibility. And again, small business can rank higher than bigger players.

Download the full 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Report here.

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