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The Globe and Mail: Handling crises in an era of distrust

by Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail (Excerpt)

Trust is the new black.

That’s the catchphrase of Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s manager of global consumer trends and futuring, and the top trend she highlights in her latest report for her company’s executives.

Truth and trustworthiness are increasingly required for any business in dealing with its constituencies. But, of course, that is occurring as the definition of “truth” seems to be changing, which the recent U.S. election highlighted.

The report notes the perception of truth has shifted dramatically, especially in the past year. It used to be that facts were facts. But it seems that what people believe to be the truth is a factor of their perception.

“Today, decoding integrity is increasingly a matter of perspective – is the glass half full, or half empty? Both are accurate, but opinion is inherently subjective. Where truth was once indisputable and often self-evident, today’s ‘truths’ are often heavily influenced by perceptions and reinforced by like-minded viewpoints,” she writes in the report.

Senior executives therefore have to be very careful. Given the number of companies – from Wells Fargo to Samsung – that faced public relations fiascos this year, consultant Melissa Agnes says on Forbes that they need to follow these five steps: […]

3. Disruptive trends to guard against (or take advantage of)

Social media analyst Brian Solis recently outlined 26 disruptive trends for the remainder of the decade. Topping the list:

The New Brand: Experiences are now more important than products. That means companies will have to consider how products and services enhance specific lifestyles and workflows.

Goodbye sharing economy: Online sharing was supposed to change everything, but do you still have your own car and bike? Instead, the “selfish economy” will predominate, and so everything will be wanted on-demand, immediately, not just by individuals but in business-to-business transactions.

Digital detox: People will learn tricks to handle the digital onslaught because they have to. Some will unplug from the Internet. But other actions Mr. Solis suggests are checking e-mail only once a week; scheduling meetings in 20 to 25 minute increments; listening to music without lyrics; spending 10 minutes a day on the Headspace meditative app; fasting from media; and, horrors, not responding to every text.

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