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Guest View: In tech we trust

James Cook | May 30, 2013
Technology is the most trusted industry not only globally, but also in Asia Pacific, reveals a trust barometer.

It's easy to see how fundamental tech is to our lifestyles. Technology makes us more productive, helps us stay connected to friends and family, entertains us and generally improves the quality of our lives.

The same principle applies in business and the public sector as well. The vast amount of data out there requires corporations and governments to be able to effectively store, access, parse, index and analyse data quickly. The quaint tools of our business past - hard copy records, paper correspondence, handwritten ledger books - are no longer viable economically and competitively.

Moving Ahead of The Curve

The tech industry has for the most part kept its part of the bargain. There have been public incidents ranging from malware outbreaks to connectivity outages, but the industry has been quick to respond with remedies that manage to restore public confidence.

If the industry continues being innovative, transparent and reliable stewards of our personal information, and we continue buying more hardware and software, share more data and embrace all things tech, we should expect to see Tech keeping its place at the top of Edelman's Trust Barometer for more years to come. Right?

Embrace New Values

Well, yes, as long as we keep in mind what drives trust and how that has changed over the years. This is sometimes not aligned with what companies think drive trust and many may be surprised to learn that only 44 percent of respondents think innovation is a very important trust building attribute. The top three trust building attributes, according to the Trust Barometer, are the company's ability to offer high quality products and services (63 percent), listen to customer needs and feedback (61 percent), and treat their employees well (61 percent).

This means that we must be conscious and deliberate about what we communicate, how we communicate and who we communicate to. We must also realise that in this social media-driven communications landscape, there are no longer any places to hide.

So, let's celebrate tech's position at the top of the trust tree, but let's also remember that trust today is an increasingly fragile quality that changes over time. As long as we understand the importance of what people hold most valuable, and engage with people in a meaningful way on a daily basis, we can expect to look forward to another year at the top of trust.

James Cook is director, Technology Practice, Southeast Asia, Edelman.

*GE, Qualcomm and VMware are Edelman clients.


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