In the 2016 GRBN Trust Survey*, we found that, on average across the 9 countries surveyed, only 13% of survey participants said they had a high level of trust in market research companies to protect and appropriately use people’s personal data (versus 26% who had a low level of trust). These proportions are more or less the average for the 17 different types of organizations surveyed, which is a sad reflection on the overall poor level of trust in the world today, couple with the high level of concern about this issue. Obviously, we could just say that this is the way the world is and shrug our shoulders, but GRBN is leading the charge for our sector to take proactive action to change this picture, because:
We see a huge risk if we do nothing and a great opportunity if we do.
Currently, participation rates in market research are nothing to shout home about, and based on discussions we have had data collectors recently, they are likely to get worse, rather than better based on current behaviors. We believe that we are under-performing on this trust metric; that is to say that our industry is doing a better job at protecting and appropriately use personal data than the perception among the general public. By doing a better job at communicating what we do, we believe we will be able to improve our rating. It is not, however, just a case of communication: We need to better understand people’s concerns, especially around sensitive personal data, and make sure that we are properly addressing those concerns. We believe that if we are successful in increasing the level of trust in the market research sector, we can differentiate ourselves from other sectors using people’s personal data, such as social media companies, and increase people’s willingness to participate in research, or at least prevent the further decline, which is very likely to take place if we do nothing.
Building Public Trust 
These are just some of the reasons why GRBN is continuing to drive forward with the Building Public Trust program in co-operation with the regional federations and national associations across the globe. You can read more about the program here and we invite you to get in touch if you want to get involved in one way or another.   * Fieldwork was conducted by Research Now through its online panel, and the survey was conducted in nine countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, UK and US) in March/April 2016 with more than 9,000 respondents taking part. The sample for the survey was drawn to represent adults 18 plus in each country and data has been weighted to match the population in each country on key demographic variables. The total results represent an average for the nine countries and is not weighted to reflect population size.