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Saudi citizens have an optimistic outlook for the future and trust in government is at all time high

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Global communications firm Edelman launched the latest edition of its annual Trust Barometer, which measured levels of trust from over 36,000 respondents across 28 countries. The firm has been measuring trust across business, government, media and NGOs for over twenty years. The findings provide valuable data and insights for both Edelman’s own operations and those of their clients to inform communications approaches in each sector.

The Barometer findings for Saudi Arabia reveal that citizens trust in the direction their country is heading as82% of citizens trust in their government and 73% are confident that they and their families will be better off in five years’ time. Trust in all four institutions surveyed (government, business, NGOs and media) increased compared with 2020, but the findings also show that the expectations for these institutions have evolved. For example, when it comes to business, a clear majority of respondents expect CEOs to be the face of change. 85% believe that CEOs should be personally visible when discussing public policy and social issues. Over 75% buy products, choose a place of work, or invest based on their beliefs and values.

When it comes to expectations of media, there was an 18-percentage point rise in concern about false information or fake news, the highest increase of all countries surveyed. However, good quality information was also found to be the most effective way to improve trust. For example, low-income households had lower levels of trust (47%) than high-income households (62%), but this trust gap was almost closed when both had access to good quality information. Across all four institutions surveyed, good quality information was found to be the most powerful trust builder.

Kenana Dahlan, Head of Edelman Saudi Arabia, said of the findings: “the Edelman Trust Barometer allows us to measure the pulse of Saudi citizens on these important issues. Trust in government is strong; government and business are seen as key drivers of positive change – but these expectations come with responsibilities. The Trust Barometer results reveal a clear call for business leaders to take more ownership of issues and position themselves as thought leaders in society.”

The data on trust that Edelman has collected over the last twenty years demonstrates visible trends and provides important insights into one of the cornerstones of communication. The Barometer not only identifies global trends but also provides in-depth analysis of individual markets. This is particularly important for Saudi Arabia, where trust in institutions is relatively high, but where mutual fears about information quality are shared. The Barometer does not just highlight problems but also identifies solutions: information quality is the most powerful trust builder across institutions. Knowing and understanding these trust issues allows Edelman to service their clients with communications plans that are designed to achieve maximum impact by resonating effectively with their target audiences in Saudi Arabia.

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