Edelman and MM&M recently released The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer: A Closer Look at Health with a number of interesting insights into how the global “general population” and “informed public” views health industry. Here are a few of the main data points and related key takeaways for public health communicators.
- Search engines are now the most trusted source for general news and information among the informed public of all ages, and millennials lead the group with 72% using search engines as their preferred source. Takeaway: Ensure your websites are optimized for search engines through the use of quality content, keywords, and metadata.
- Academics, industry experts, company technical experts, and “persons like yourself” remain the most credible spokespersons for businesses in the health space. Government officials or regulators rank last, with CEOs ranking only slightly higher. Takeaway: User-generated content continues to be an essential part of health information dissemination, especially when content creators are highly matched with a specific target audience’s demographics.
- “Hospitals, clinics, and other medical care facilities” are one of the most trusted subsectors of the health industry, and private insurance companies were the least trusted. Takeaway: Look for opportunities to build public-private partnerships with hospitals, especially those known for providing high-quality consumer health content, such as the Mayo Clinic. Partnerships could include cross-promotions, co-branding, and shared content development activities.
- Eighty-percent of all respondents reported they bought a product or service because they trusted the company behind it. The reverse was also true, with 63% reporting they refused to purchase a product or service because they lacked trust in the company. Takeaway: Brand integrity is an essential part of health communications and should be applied to both organizational communications and health campaigns. A structured communication plan and style guide can help achieve brand consistency, especially across a large organization with multiple teams responsible for creating health content.
- “Innovations,” especially those in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, are perceived to be driven more by an interest in making a profit than by improving health. Instead, informed public respondents cited “contributing to the greater good” as a key driver of their trust in businesses. Takeaway: To build brand trust, develop a regular process for collecting and sharing information on how your organization is having a positive impact on the wellbeing of others. Whenever possible, post personal stories from employees or partners to add user-generated content to the mix.
For more data and analysis, read the full report.