FIELD PERIOD: APRIL 11-17
THIS ISSUE’S FOCUS: TRUST
WHICH SOURCES ARE TRUSTED FOR INFORMATION ON COVID-19?
This week we asked our community where they are getting their information, how they vet the information, and how they can tell a source is worthy of their trust.
IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS
- Demonstrate your expertise by finding new opportunities to share useful information and helpful content.
- Find ways to whisper stories to a local audience vs broadcasting broadly to allow for nuances among various markets and customers.
- Build customer communities or coalitions (customer-facing) that evangelize your offering in a way that builds confidence.
INSIGHTS THAT MATTER
NO ONE SOURCE IS WORTHY OF COMPLETE TRUST
Most in the Insight Safari online community say they absorb info from multiple sources, and triangulate information from multiple trusted outlets before they decide what to believe (or not believe). If they start to hear the same message from multiple directions, they know it contains a kernel of truth.
- Respondents consume information from various sources and channels, quite often including networks and publications that don’t align with their personal or political beliefs. A number use news aggregators such as Google News, Apple News or Yahoo! News to facilitate this.
“Whenever I see any news article, I first check the source. Major sites, like NYTimes, I know I can trust. If it’s from a source I don’t recognize, I turn to Snopes or PolitiFacts because they are unbiased sources that bust any misinformation floating around. For the hard facts, I turn to cdc.gov.” – BelindaB, 32, Millennials, Suburban
Regardless of Philosophy or Political Leanings, Mainstream Media is Considered Somewhat Suspect
Consumers tend to trust news sources more that align with their pre-conceived biases or political leanings. At the same time, most say that any mainstream media source must be viewed with a critical eye. While CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are well-known and trusted names amongst our group, respondents admit that their political views factor heavily into their news source preferences. Most say it’s important not to rely only on mainstream media sources to form opinions on the COVID-19 story.
Field Observation: Pew Research Center Studies Which News Sources Most Trusted According to Consumers’ Political Leanings
DISTRUST OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS WIDESPREAD
For the most part, respondents don’t implicitly trust information coming out of Washington or the White House press briefings. Whether this is founded in negative feelings about our President or a dislike of Congress, most feel the information coming from the federal government is inherently biased.
Unless You’re Dr. Fauci…
Even though Dr. Fauci serves as a spokesperson for the federal government, his perspective is trusted because of his robust medical expertise. Secondarily, the CDC is largely considered an unbiased and fact-based source for updates and medical advice.
In fact, medical professionals are considered the most reliable sources during the COVID-19 pandemic. This extends to celebrity doctors, local experts, and even their relatives and friends in the medical profession. Many vet stories they hear with people they personally know in the medical field.
The Closer the Better
The closer the source to me, my town and my family, the more trusted it is. That means local news stations, local governments and even state Governors are considered sources worthy of trust. Participants feel these people and organizations really understand the issues and implications that are most important to them personally, whether they live in Washington Heights or Wyoming.
Metametrix text analysis confirms that some of the concepts most important to consumers – beyond just reading the news or watching mainstream sources like CNN – are local news, their state governor, and local news channels.
The analytic engine also confirms that in this conversation, Dr. Fauci plays a critical role as a trusted source.
What do consumers value that drives them to choose local news sources over the mainstream media, and local government over the federal perspective?
Linking the data to the Metametrix values framework helps with that, too. We ran comments about local news through the text engine to uncover the key values.
In future issues we’ll explore:
- Staying healthy – what are consumers doing to stay healthy – and what’s difficult?
- Fun and games – how is COVID-19 impacting gaming behaviors – digital and analog?
Each week we engage a panel of 500 Americans of various backgrounds for discussions on how the coronavirus pandemic is shaping human behavior, experiences, feelings and beliefs. To get a full understanding of participants’ experiences we’re examining the results as qualitative researchers and text analysts.
Over time we’ll track which changes have lasting cultural impact and change consumer behavior, and which are temporary adjustments to an unprecedented crisis.