When we took a deep look at the rise of consumer IoT in 2019, one of the key elements we pointed out was how this will change the nature of trust for all businesses. For the true future of consumer IoT to be realized, consumers will be required to share more and more personal information. For brands that both currently hold personal data and those that do not, how they treat personal data will become part of the trust bargain with their consumers. And in this regard, Australian businesses do not currently stand in a good place – only 28% of Australians trust businesses to use their data responsibly.
More broadly though, we are facing a trust deficit. Q&A recently devoted an entire show to this topic – a sure sign that this is currently a part of the national conversation. And the numbers do show that concern with trust is justified. The Edleman Trust index fell 1pt in 2020 to 47 for Australia. We remain firmly planted in the ‘Distrust’ countries. When we look at trust in business specifically, Australia at 52% sits behind the global average (58%) and trust in government is even lower at 44% and behind the global average (49%). Given this, and the poor performance of developed countries overall in the index, it is no wonder that one of the panelists on Q&A posited that we may be currently in a ‘post-trust world’. Digging even deeper into the numbers we also see strong declines in Australian’s trust in technology – down 6pts on 2019.
So, what we have is a situation where trust in business is low. At the same time, technology is becoming more and more a part of daily lives, which is helping to erode trust further. But in this context life goes on and many decisions that rely on trust are being made. For smaller decisions, where relationships have already been formed, these are largely not impacted, however larger ones can pose more of an issue for customer decision making. The businesses that will win in this space are the ones that can embed trust through the entire purchase journey.
Over the past few weeks we have been speaking to a range of Australian consumers about how they decide who to trust in this context and some very interesting themes are coming out. Hint – there is a lot of self-reliance on their part and some really interesting ‘rules of thumb’, technology hacks or tried and true behaviours that they are using to essentially ‘trust but verify’. Sitting over the top of this is a real sense that there is no option but to engage with a technology-driven world that is fundamentally untrustworthy and just make the best of it.
In our upcoming breakfast events we will break this topic down further and discuss the implications for brands that are looking to grow in a low trust environment.