The PR industry has become an important actor in society and in the democratic process. The purpose of this article is to examine the opinion state of this phenomenon. More precisely the question is: what trust do people have in the PR industry and PR professionals?
The question of trust for the PR and advertising industry has for some years been part of the Swedish annual national survey of public opinion with 3,000 respondents.
The paper finds that the trust for PR agents as well as marketing agents is very low. Only some few percent of the population express (good) trust in these occupational groups, while over half of the population express bad/low trust. However, information (in‐house) officers show that the figures are somewhat better. The survey also asks about people's views about the use of communication consultants by different types of organizations: the practice is accepted for the business sector, but not for political parties and trade unions.
The low trust must be a problem for the PR occupation and its actors, and the question is whether they are willing to improve, for example, their methods, ethical behaviour and transparency.
This question of trust and confidence for PR in society is rarely studied, and the Swedish study needs to be complemented by studies in other countries.
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