The good news is that consumers trust companies more now than they did in 2011. The bad news is that they still don’t trust them very much.
But before you despair, Americans do have very clear advice for how brands can rebuild this relationship.
According to Edelman’s Annual Trust Barometer, 58% of consumers believe that firms are trustworthy, up from 53% in 2011. However, there is a huge gulf between ratings for small and large organizations. 86% of Americans trust small companies, while only 55% trust big ones.
Consumers’ distrust of business shows up in how they respond to advertising and PR. The majority needs to hear a fact about a company 3 to 5 times before they believe it. And, they are much more likely to believe brand information that comes from an academic, a “person like them,” or an average company employee, rather than from the CEO.
What will it take for businesses to regain consumers’ trust? Americans' top five suggestions are:
We’ll check next year’s Trust Barometer to see if brands follow consumers’ advice and consumers respond positively.
Later this month carbon dioxide levels will reach 400 parts per million (ppm) in the Earth’s atmosphere. It hasn’t been that high since the Pliocene era, 3 to 5 million years ago.
400 ppm is a milestone it would be better not to achieve. Historically, scientists warned that anything over 350 ppm would destabilize the climate. Some assert that 450 ppm will be the “tipping point,” when the damage from climate change cannot be reversed. 400 ppm is symbolic evidence that we are not making progress to stop global warming.
Carbon dioxide emissions---the vast majority from fossil fuel usage---hit a record high in 2012. However, because carbon dioxide molecules remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, cumulative emissions since the start of the industrial revolution are contributing to reaching the 400 ppm mark.
Last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, the earth was a far different place. Humans weren’t alive, the planet was roughly 10 degrees warmer, sea levels were approximately 100 feet higher, and there was almost no ice on the globe.
News of the impending 400 ppm record is being talked about extensively by scientists and climate change activists. It will be interesting to see if consumers take note.
71% of Americans think about the environmental impact of items before they make purchases. That’s up 5 percentage points since 2008. Even better, 90% of those who buy products with eco-friendly disposal options intend to use them.
Unfortunately those plans usually do not translate into reality. 70% of consumers admit they do not use green products in the way that minimizes their impact. And, 68% say they don’t dispose of products in the most environmentally friendly way.
Why is there a gap between intentions and actions?
The top explanation, cited by 33% of consumers, is that they don’t have the necessary resources. Their community does not have recycling facilities, they don’t have special bins, etc. An additional 19% say they don’t know the correct way to dispose of many products. 10% don’t make it a priority, and 8% just don’t have the time.
Almost three-quarters of consumers wish companies would provide more information about green products throughout their lifecycle, with the majority looking for more information via product packages or the Internet.
If you’d like to read more about the gap between green thoughts and behaviors, here’s the link to the research from Cone Communications. http://www.conecomm.com/2013-green-gap-trend-tracker-1
Symptoms are getting worse and lasting longer for those who suffer from pollen allergies. That trend is going to continue far into the future, thanks to climate change.
The ragweed season has expanded by two to four weeks (depending on geography) over the past 15 years. Other outdoor allergies have followed a similar pattern as higher average temperatures lead plants to bloom significantly earlier.
At the same time, the amount of pollen in the air has almost doubled. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plants to grow larger and produce more pollen when they bloom.
According to experts at Rutgers University who model pollen patterns, these trends will be magnified through at least 2040. Research algorithms predict that the allergy season will be extended by at least another week, and average pollen counts will more than double in the next 27 years.
The 40 million allergy suffers in the US are frustrated. They are looking for solutions that go beyond taking more medication and staying inside as much as possible. Allergists are scratching their heads looking for solutions for their patients.
Is there an opportunity for Clorox to help outdoor allergy sufferers?
More and more experts have shifted from talking about how to prevent climate change to discussing how to deal with its inevitable effects.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers recently released a report detailing the impact global warming will have on business. Some of what they highlight has already been talked about extensively: warmers winters, more extreme weather events, and water shortages.
Other important business implications have received much less press: uncertainty, disruption, and new trade routes.
Pricewaterhouse identifies “uncertainty” as the #1 way climate change will affect the economy. The business environment will become less predictable because no one can accurately project the magnitude, location, or timing of the side effects of global warming.
“Disruption” is also near the top of the list. Climate change, in the form of weather events, will damage physical infrastructure. At the same time, climate refugees will leave areas that become too wet, too dry, or too hot, putting a further burden on infrastructure and services in areas that remain habitable.
Finally, the report highlights new trade routes as a significant positive impact for business. As the Arctic melts, a new, shorter shipping channel will open from the Atlantic to Asia.
You can read more about the report and Triple Pundit’s analysis of it here http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/03/top-ten-effects-global-warming-business/