Dialling up on Digital trust

26/09/2018

Everyone loves the digital economy, right? Cheap online shopping, connecting with friends, takeaways at the touch of a button. What’s not to love?

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Well, quite a bit, as it turns out. In The Times this week, Christine Removille writes about how people in the UK are not as optimistic about the digital economy as you might have expected. Digital engagement—our measure for how positive people feel about the digital economy—stands at just 40% in the UK (below the global average). How come?

Across a number of dimensions, trust in digital has been shaken in recent years. For example, according to the new Digital Society Index UK country report launched this week, only 18% of people in the UK agree that emerging digital technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, robotics) will create job opportunities over the next five to 10 years (see Figure 1). And when it comes to the use of personal data, increasing public awareness and high-profile breaches have created huge levels of mistrust. For example, just 22% of people in the UK believe that businesses are transparent in their use of personal data. Only two countries (France – 19% and Japan – 17%) score lower.

 

Figure 1: People in the UK don’t believe digital will create jobs

% people agreeing that emerging digital technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, robotics) will create job opportunities over the next five to 10 years

 

For brands, the risk of a public backlash against digital technology creates a difficult environment in which they must build ever-closer relationships with consumers. However, media has a key role to play here. In fact, Carat’s own research on this topic shows how brands can understand the ingredients of trust in a digital economy—and the media channels that are best able to deliver on those elements. Trust may be a fuzzy concept, but with analytical rigour brands can ensure they are well set for the long term.

 

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