Trust becoming rare for Pinoy ‘prosumers,’ survey says

By Joel Pinaroc

Most Filipino “prosumers” now consider trust as a rare value, according to a new survey.

Marketing and communications firm Havas Ortega Group conducted the trust survey and recently unveiled the results of its “Pinoy Prosumer Report on The Future of Trust”.

Havas Ortega Group head of data analytics Phil Tiongson

The survey defined a Pinoy prosumer as someone belonging to an influential group that is progressive, and a believer of new trends. The prosumer is also an opinion maker and is more than just early adopters, actively seeking information, and willing to explore and embrace innovations.

Pinoy prosumers are also in it for the experience, are marketing savvy, and are “testers” of something new. They usually have a following, which may not be very large (about 500 to 1,000).

One of the key findings of the trust survey is that most Filipino “prosumers” trust their families the most, and trust national politicians and leaders the least.

The survey further revealed that while digital media and online social networks were earlier seen as crucial trust-building catalysts upon their inception, fake news, paid trolls, unethical and gameable algorithms, and bad e-commerce experiences are making Filipinos extra selective about what they see, hear, discover, and trust not just in the digital realm but also in real life.

This erosion of trust is evidenced by major findings among Filipino prosumers, with 86% of prosumers saying trust is now a rare value. The same 86% also worry about the loss of reliable leaders; 65% worry that Filipinos no longer trust each other; 57% find it dishonest, inauthentic, and annoying when people they follow on social media advertise products; and 53% believe brands trying to gain people’s trust are insincere and looking only to make profit.

Phil Tiongson, head of data analytics at Havas Ortega Group, said “these trends in trust are in line with global prosumer attitudes and behavior — and these trends are a far cry from the optimism the digital world engendered a decade ago.”

“We used to believe that the digital medium would be a bridge to others and a bridge to reliable, timely, and accurate information. Today, we no longer are sure and are questioning the trust that we give to these digital media channels. This trend is also effusing into the non-digital media world: We are beginning to see that Filipino prosumers are beginning to be less trusting of the world around them, in general,” Tiongson said.

He added that “this is a problem because trust is the glue that holds societies and communities together. Trust is also the medium that facilitates all interactions and relationships, personal and commercial; with this erosion in trust, we could be seeing a fundamental shift in the way we relate with one another not just digitally but also in real life.”

However, on a more positive note, Tiongson said the firm also saw “that Filipinos still want to trust in trust: Filipinos still want to believe that her/his neighbors and society in general is worth trusting in.”

Over 90% of Filipino prosumers still believe trust to be the cornerstone of society and an indicator of a country’s quality of life. It shows in the behavior as well: 63% tend to trust others until there is proven reason not to.

There are also institutions that Filipinos would trust more over others: the science community over the religious community when it comes to telling the truth; lawyers over NGOs and activists in protecting individual rights and liberties; the courts and legal system over fellow citizens in moral and legal issues; and 65% trust journalistic sources and experts over anonymous, non-by-lined articles or opinion pieces in blogs and consumer-generated websites.  

“What all of these tell us is that in spite of the erosion of trust, humans are still seeking trust — we just are looking to trust in a smaller group of experts more now,” Tiongson said.

More findings

The study reported more and more Filipinos are taking it upon themselves to verify facts before forming their opinions or making decisions. Ninety-eight (98%) of Filipino prosumers regularly check online information for accuracy and 84% make it a habit to learn from different sources before taking a stand.

In this emerging era of selectivity, organizations and brands are urged to connect through their vision, humanity, and values.

Filipino prosumers are more likely to trust a brand or company that is innovative and shares a clear view of the future; (59%) shows a human face through employees as company ambassadors (61%); treats employees well (78%); and admits and rectifies mistakes when they happen (71%). Companies that are environmentally responsible and supports causes close to consumers’ hearts (67%) are more likely to earn consumers’ trust.

The latest prosumer report surveyed 9,447 respondents both men and women across different age groups in 27 countries in 2018.

The Philippines has been included in the worldwide study since 2016, with 250 Filipino respondents last year. The age group for the Philippine survey included those 21 years and above.