Who do you trust in a time of crisis?

Who do you trust when you want information about a certain company? Experts? Your friends? The company itself? Based on a sample of 5.600 people around the world, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer is the world’s biggest survey of trust and credibility in companies. The 2012 survey has some truly surprising results and though it doesn’t include Denmark (although Sweden is included), Danish marketers and PR people ought to learn a bit.

First of all, the survey shows that the most credible people in 2012 as well as in earlier surveys are academic experts and technical experts in the company. But jumping from sixth place to third place, “a person like myself” has the biggest increase since 2004. Accordingly, CEOs and government officials decline from fourth place and seventh place to seventh and eighth place. We no longer trust company people and politicians, instead we trust friends, family and neighbours.

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The target groups prevail after the perfect storm

Finally, I found time to read Peter Svarre’s book ”Den Perfekte Storm” (read: ”The Perfect Storm”). It is excellent. Pragmatically, well written and it sharply delivers the tools at a systemic level, to take on the chaotic social medias that have created disorder in the good old structured and calm media universe. And as Timme Bisgaard Munk from the Danish network of professional communicators ”Kommunikationsforum” sums it up, you will consume this book like a crime novel. I did too.

Just a cautionary note

Peter Svarre has a pool of social media friends that have helped him with the book. But the book suffers from it – because it is seen through the eyes of a group of social media first movers (critics would say digital high brow inbreeds). Give me segments: Blue, green, blurry, faithless, postmodern target groups that speak with many voices. Just to mention a few parameters I miss. Has he totally rejected conventional communications tools as old school and out dated?

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A Precondition for Authentic Communication

The need to learn about organizational culture is a continuous necessity for a communicator

People working with communication must be abreast of the culture(s) in their company. This is one of Nikolaj Stagis’ main points in his book called ’The Authentic Company.’ The background for his statement is that there is a great need for authentic communication in today’s society. This is because many people have become weary of exaggerated advertising and spin.

So, in order for communicators to be able to create authentic communication, Stagis argues that they need to have a thorough understanding of the culture in their company. This is important because it enables communicators to articulate communication that corresponds with the organizational culture. In that way, communication becomes authentic since the company ‘walks the talk,’ so to speak.

In the light of this, the question is: How can communication professionals learn about their company’s culture? I will answer this question by presenting some brief recommendations.

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