Edelman Trust Barometer™ Family Business report


Edelman report

The Edelman Trust Barometer™ is an annual trust and credibility survey. The project began in 2001 and originally surveyed 1,300 people across five different countries. Today, it is recognised as a truly global measurement of trust around the world, with over 33,000 respondents across 27 countries.

Unlike other research organisations, Edelman is focused on pure research… it isn’t a group of consultants wanting to sell you their services after you access their research. They don’t have any agenda… other than providing insight into how we think.

Special Report

Family Business special report


In 2017 the Trust Barometer research included a special report on family businesses, and it is this report that we want to focus on because the findings are incredibly important for your family business.

The family business survey drew its data from 12 different countries with over 15,000 respondents…

…and the findings were overwhelmingly positive.

People trust family business

People trust family business


In eight out of eleven countries, family businesses were shown to hold far greater trust than standard corporate organisations.

In Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, United States of America and France there was over 20% more trust given to family business.

This tells us that people recognise credibility and honesty within the family business sector.

They are motivated by the family business label and will connect with your products or services more readily than with those of a regular company.

Family Business

The research also revealed that if a customer knows you are a family business, they are willing to pay more…

…in fact, the results showed that people are 45% more likely to pay more if they know you are a family business.

So, you need to tell them!

Every person who comes through your front door… every lead you meet at networking events… every email you send and every phone call you make… you need to let people know you are part of a family business.

Top attribute

Top attributes


When a customer knows you are a family business, they believe in some very important attributes about your business.

Firstly, that your products or services are high quality.

They don’t see a mass-produced, off the shelf, cookie-cutter product… or a stock standard service churned out for every second person.

They feel you offer a unique, personalised service that makes them happy to be your customer.

Family businesses

Next, they know you listen to your customers. Big corporates are often so focused on their profits and their shareholders that customers can feel unappreciated… but with family businesses, they feel valued and often have a close relationship that lasts many years.

Customers also believe that any profits made by a family business will stay in the country as there is no large offshore parent company calling the shots.

Finally, there is the belief that employees are treated well.

Family businesses have a unique culture based on relationships and this means individuals are respected and valued.

Misconception about family business innovation

Innovation misconception


The final point we want to highlight from the research today is a misconception about family business innovation.

The results indicated people perceive that family businesses are behind on innovation, long-term thinking and financial success.

But we know that’s not true.

Family businesses are the seedbed for innovation. It is only within the agile environment of a family business that quick, concise decisions can be made and implemented rapidly. When individuals within a corporate environment try to push forward a new idea, they are often constrained by policies, procedures and specific process channels.

Philip Pryor, CEO, discusses a perfect example of this situation.

“A family business that we have worked with was faced with a huge change in their industrial environment… they had no control over the change but had to do something about it.

Within a week they had brought their team together and worked out a strategy around how they were going to deal with the change. They were able to implement the plan quickly and keep their business moving ahead.

Their two major competitors, that are listed companies, still hadn’t got their Boards together to discuss the issues three months later.

This shows that family businesses can be very light on their feet and roll out big changes quickly… far more so than larger corporates.”

Read more of the Edelman Trust Barometer™ Family Business report.

Contact Family Business Central

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