Posts Tagged ‘FACTS(R)’


Ask any C-Suite executive about organizational trust and most will tell you that the “soft stuff” belongs to another department. Soft stuff? How many business executives do you know who could pass this “trust” test?

The Hard Cost of Low Trust

Question: Gallup’s research (2011) places ________ % of U.S. workers as either not engaged or actively disengaged.

Answer: A startling 71%

Question: The price tag of disengagement (Gallup) is $________

Answer: $350 billion a year. That roughly approximates the annual combined revenue of Apple, General Motors and General Electric.

Question: The Washington Post reported that “the federal government imposed an estimated $_________ in regulatory costs on the economy (in 2012).”

Answer: $216 billion in 2012, nearly double its previous record.

Question: The cost of the tort litigation system alone in the United States is over $________.

Answer: $250 billion. – or 2% of GDP, Forbes, January 2012

Question: The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $___________ in legal costs since the financial crisis.

Answer: $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years. Bloomberg, August 2013

Question: According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (2010), __________ % of senior leaders say disengaged employees are considered one of the biggest threats facing their business. However, only ____________ % of them reported doing anything about this problem.

Answer: 84%, 12%

Question: In 2011 , WIQ calculated that mistrust is costing companies between ______% to ______% revenue loss, and _____% to _______% loss of profitability. WIQ is a team sourcing technology company

Answer: 14-18% revenue loss and 17-24% loss of profitability.

Question: In the 1960’s, if you introduced a new product______% of the people who viewed it for the first time believed the corporate promise. Forty years later, if you performed the same exercise less than _______% believed it was true. Howard Schultz, Founder & CEO Starbucks

Answer: 90% believed the corporate promise, now less than 10% believe it to be true.

Question: According to Edelman globally, _____% of consumers trust businesses, but just ______% trust business leadership.

Answer: 50% of consumers trust business, while 18% trust business leadership.

Question: In the United States, Edelman’s statistics are similar, but the story is a bit worse for leadership. While _____% of U.S. consumers trust businesses, just ____% trust business leadership.

Answer: 50% of consumers trust business while just 15% trust business leadership.

The Low Cost of Hard Trust

Unfortunately, it’s easier to find data on the cost associated with low trust. But here are a few test questions addressing the cost savings of hard trust.

Question: A study by the Russell Investment Group finds the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America (In which trust represents 60 percent of the overall criteria) earned over _______ times the returns of the market at large.

Answer: See for yourself.

Question: The Towers Watson 2011-2012 “Change and Communication ROI Study Report” shows that companies that have highly-effective communications practices are _________ times more likely to outperform their peers financially.

Answer: 1.7 times

And finally, Trust Across America – Trust Around the World continues to track the performance of America’s Most Trustworthy Companies agains the S&P 500 and the findings are nothing less than remarkable.




The next time a business executive tells you “trust is soft”, suggest he take the “Test” and maybe (even) buy our new book:

Trust Inc., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset.


Trust Inc.

Trust Inc.




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Does Trustworthy Business Result in Stock Market Outperformance?

This week, a well-respected colleague put a challenge before me. He said that Trust Across America (TAA) must continue to correlate stock market performance to trustworthiness in order to gain the attention of public companies. In other words, companies care about little else.

While I humbly think that TAA has gained plenty of attention, I love a challenge! So Mike, this one’s for you!

I decided to look back at our first “Top Ten” Most Trustworthy Public Companies named in early 2010 and calculate the collective market performance of these ten companies vs. the S&P 500.  We begin our calculation on December 10, 2009, the day the companies were selected, and end on May 17, 2013.

This is the list:

Hess (HES)

Albemarle (ALB)

Best Buy (BBY)

Cummins (CMI)

Eastman Chemical (EMN)

Lexmark (LXK)

Lubrizol (acquired by Warren Buffett)

Sonoco Products  (SON)

Texas Instruments (TXN)



Setting Lubrizol aside (although the Buffett acquisition could be the subject of a separate blog post) leaves us with 9 companies. Collectively, these companies posted gains of 63.96% vs. 51.27% for the S&P, resulting in outperformance of 24%. For those of you who want to dig a bit deeper, 8 companies increased their share price while one (Best Buy) saw a decrease. Three companies had greater than 100% stock price appreciation over that period.

So Mike, in the short-term you may be more right than wrong. But the world is not that simple. We are seeing a shift in focus away from shareholder value, albeit a slow one. Building trustworthy organizations and increasing stakeholder trust, while flying in the face of the quarterly income statement mentality, may be gaining in popularity.

I will argue that the companies listed above are “on to something” that somehow approximates trustworthy business practices.  On the other hand, maybe Trust Across America just got lucky, as I’m sure some will conclude, when our FACTS® Framework chose these companies back in 2010.  You decide.

Feel free to leave your comments here or email me at


Our book, Trust Inc:, Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset is now available for preorder!


Trust Inc.


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Barbara Kimmel Interviews Jim Gregory, CEO CoreBrand

Barbara Kimmel: Jim- tell us a bit about your background, qualifications and expertise. If you have written a book, please provide the title.

Jim Gregory: I am the CEO of CoreBrand. My company focuses on building corporate brands and we are pioneers in the measurement of corporate brands. We have a proprietary database know as the Corporate Branding Index® that includes 20 years of consistent research of 1000 companies across 54 industries. This allows us the unique ability to connect the corporate brand to market capitalization. I’ve written four books on the subject, the most recent being The Best of Branding.

Barbara Kimmel: Trust Across America’s mission is to rebuild trustworthy business behavior across the globe.  How would you generally define trustworthy business behavior? 

Jim Gregory: Trust is built through the process of consistently meeting the needs of your key constituencies over time. Each constituency views trust from their own perspective and their own needs. Understanding how trust is built is critical for creating corporate value.

Barbara Kimmel: In your opinion, what are some of the specific components of trustworthy business behavior?

Jim Gregory: There are three elements of trust that can be managed by a corporation.

1) Business Processes must be in alignment with the overall brand strategy.

2) The Culture and Behavior of the company must adhere to the brand guidelines.

3) The Communications, whether planned or unplanned, should consistently reflect the brand over time.

Barbara Kimmel: We all know that the erosion of corporate trust is a big problem. What are companies doing to combat this, and is it enough?

Jim Gregory: We know from our proprietary research and models that trust is directly related to brand power, which is directly connected to market capitalization. Education of management and consistently reinforcing the importance of trust is the best way to rebuild corporate brands.

Barbara Kimmel: Is the global “trust” climate improving or worsening? What actions will turn things around?

Jim Gregory: Trust in corporations has been declining since 2004. CoreBrand’s research of Corporate Brand Equity as a Percentage of Market Capitalization for the average Fortune 1000 company shows a decline from 7.4% in 2004 to 5% in 2012. We believe this decline is leveling off and we are hoping for a rebound in 2013.

Barbara Kimmel: Can you provide a few examples of companies that are doing the “right” thing in your opinion? What steps are being taken by these companies that sets them apart?

Jim Gregory: Google’s brand has been consistently growing for years. Now they are ranked as the number one company to work for, and they have great programs in place to support this ranking — that is consistency.

Barbara Kimmel: Anything else you would like to add as a closing comment?

Jim Gregory: CoreBrand tracks 1000 companies across 54 industries. If your company is one of them we have information to share with you. If it isn’t one of them we will consider adding your company to our research survey. Please let us know more about your corporate brand.  Our data can also be combined with Trust Across America’s FACTS® Report to provide further depth and perspective on the trustworthiness of our company.

Barbara Kimmel: Thank you Jim for your ongoing research on the construction and measurement of trustworthy brands.

Jim Gregory can be reached at

and more information about CoreBrand can be found at:

Do you have questions or comments? Email

Barbara Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America, global leaders in information, standards, data and Who’s Who in trustworthy business.


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Trust Across America (TAA) receives frequent inquiries from the financial media. Here’s how the conversation usually goes.

TAA: Hello TAA. How can I help you?

Media: Hi! This is Debbie Downer from major financial news network. We understand that TAA ranks public companies according to their trustworthiness. Is that correct?

TAA: Yes we maintain a database of approximately 2500 public companies and our FACTS® Algorithm can measure the major drivers of trustworthy business behavior. We can even show you how each company ranks according to its market cap, industry and sector peers.

Media: Great. Can we get a list of the lowest ranked companies?

TAA: Just to clarify. You want a list of the least trustworthy companies?

Media: Yes

TAA: Sorry but TAA’s mission is to highlight the good guys. How about if we give you some examples of companies doing good and doing well at the same time?

Media: Good guys? No thanks. The public is not interested. Only bad news sells.


Jonathan Low at recently wrote about the disappearance of the small investor, and with the help of Barry Ritholtz listed 10 reasons why. I propose #11.

#11 The financial media industry is obsessed with bad news and scandals of the day. How will confidence in the financial markets ever be restored if this cycle continues? Jonathan and Barry, it’s really not a matter of poor returns. There are great companies who are meeting the needs of all their stakeholders including their shareholders.

It’s the responsibility of the financial news networks to refocus. Report to the public about companies that are behaving in a trustworthy manner. A few names that come to mind are Accenture (Symbol: ACN) and United Natural Foods (Symbol: UNFI). We are not suggesting that these companies are perfect. They may trip along the way.  But our research shows that they will also recover much faster. They have “banked” trust.

So to all the Debbie Downers of the financial news networks. Here’s my suggestion. Try highlighting a few of the good guys. Treat the public with more respect. Use this as an opportunity to be a positive role model for the rest of your industry. Don’t be part of the race to the bottom. Don’t be that guy (or gal)!

What do you think? Should the financial news networks report more good news? Send your comments to barbara at

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