Companies around the world are facing an “authenticity gap,” argues FleishmanHillard Global Intelligence in a recent report [PDF], as they fail to meet customer expectations in key areas that drive authenticity, such as value and customer care. Trouble is, companies are considered the least credible when they’re talking about those particular areas.
Almost 80% of the 5,500 consumers surveyed across 5 countries (including 84% in the US) agree that the behaviors and integrity of the CEO reflect the behaviors and integrity of the company the CEO leads.
That makes the CEO an important barometer of company authenticity, but not its most credible source.
Instead, the employee is most trusted.
When sorting facts from fiction about a company (sometimes quite the task in the fake news era), 3 times more respondents to the survey said they find company employees credible than the companies’ leaders.
The only people trusted more than employees? Knowledgeable friends, family and colleagues.
These results bring to mind previous research released this year by Edelman, in which just 37% of general population respondents around the world said they find CEOs to be credible, an all-time low. That study also found peers and employees more trusted than senior executives and CEOs.
Employee advocacy programs – which have been getting marketing leaders’ attention in recent times – make a lot of sense in this light. Read the rest at MarketingCharts.com.