While marketers in many countries are worried about a recession, there is also optimism regarding the business climate and marketing budgets.
Kenyans have most trust in teachers, NGOs and business leaders
By our News Team | 2023
But businesses are still not doing enough to publicly address societal issues such as climate change, healthcare and economic inequality.
NGOs and the business sector are the most trusted institutions in Kenya – with teachers, NGO leaders and business leaders seen as a unifying force for a population increasingly grappling with personal economic fears relating to unemployment and higher costs of living.
This is according to the Kenya Report from the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer. The study has been released annually for the past 23 years by PR company Edelman and encompasses 28 countries. In Africa, Edelman issues a Trust Report for three countries: Kenya; South Africa and Nigeria.
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The Kenya Report says NGOs, business and media are all seen as competent and ethical institutions. Trust in one’s employer (among employees) matched trust in NGOs across the general population, both growing by three percentage points year-on-year to 76%.
Edelman believes this becomes increasingly relevant when taken in the context of economic optimism collapsing around the world, with 24 of 28 countries surveyed seeing all-time lows in the number of people who think their families will be better off in five years.
In Kenya, this figure saw a year-over-year double-digit decline (11pts), although 80% remain optimistic.
More than three-quarters of Kenyans surveyed believed that CEOs are obligated to hold divisive forces in society accountable by defending facts and exposing questionable science used to justify bad social policies (82%); pulling advertising revenues from platforms that spread misinformation (76%).
Businesses must strengthen the social fabric
Kenyans also believe that companies could strengthen the social fabric by supporting politicians and media outlets that build consensus and cooperation (on average 76%).
The onus has also been placed on CEOs to improve economic optimism by remunerating workers with a just wage, ensuring their local communities are safe and thriving, paying fair corporate taxes, and retraining or upskilling employees.
Most Kenyans expect CEOs to take a public stand on prominent issues including the treatment of employees, discrimination, the wealth gap, climate change and immigration.
But, say the Edelman researchers, businesses are falling short of this mandate.
The majority of people feel businesses are not doing enough to publicly address pertinent societal issues like climate change, access to healthcare, economic inequality, and energy shortages.
This puts business at risk of losing the trust of consumers and employees, especially when considering that, globally, 63% of respondents said they buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values. Similarly, globally 69% of employees, on average, agreed that a company’s societal impact is a strong determinant when taking a job.
Other key findings for Kenya from the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer include:
- Scientists are the most trusted group of people in Kenya, followed by co-workers and “my CEO”.
- Search engines (75%) and traditional media (67%) are the only trusted news sources in Kenya.
- Eighty-three percent of Kenyans agree that brands which celebrate what brings Kenyans together and emphasise the common interest can strengthen the social fabric in the country. This is the highest percentage of all 28 countries surveyed.
- On average, 58% of Kenyans believe that the best societal outcomes will emerge when businesses work in partnership with government.
- 40% of Kenyans believe the country is more divided today than in the past.
You can download the full report here.
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