The purpose of this piece of research, realized in partnership with MS&L Group, is to shed light on the impact the financial, economic and social crisis that emerged in 2008 has had on the reputations of corporations, banks and governments.
Over a period spanning from November 2009 to February 2010, our research reveals perceptions that have the online opinion leaders from six countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and China.
- - A state of ruptured trust: banks and Corporations are seen as reckless, fraudulent and disconnected from reality whilst Governments around the world are blamed for their inaction or their inability to rein in wrong-doing financial corporations.
- - Banks are (still) to blame: in all countries surveyed, banks are chiefly blamed. Their actions and policies are designated as direct causes of the crisis. Moreover, they are criticised for keeping the bad habits (lack of transparency, over-sized bonuses, etc.) that led the world to plunge into its worst crisis since second world war.
- - Corporations stand in the shadow of trust: although corporations, with the exception of banks, are not particularly distrusted, they are not particularly trusted either. Moreover, whereas different categories of non-corporate individuals are trusted to help economies and societies move out of the crisis, CEOs are almost never.
- - Governments did not & do not act appropriately: when Governments are blamed (in some countries more than corporations, i.e. FR & US), it is mostly for the blind eye they turned on the bank’s actions and for their continued inability to enforce new and efficient regulations.
- - Governments standing “between banks and the pitchforks”, for how long? In this context, Governments around the world may end up heeding Barack Obama’s word and siding with public opinion against banks.
- - Back to the basics of trust: all in all, it appears opinions leaders are expressing a need for more conservative behaviours and more personal relationships (through individuals such as community managers or stakeholders managers) with corporations or governments.
- - Trusting whom? Individuals such as experts, political leaders, peers or civil society actors such as NGOs are more easily trusted than corporate entities (along with their CEOs) or governments. Furthermore, corporations and governments are going to be judged upon their ability to play their roles (e.g. Regulating for governments or Fuelling the economy for banks).