Bernd Wachter, CEO of Psyma Group AG and board member of both the ADM and the “Initiative Markt- und Sozialforschung, shares his views on why the German public have a relatively high level of trust in market research. It makes fascinating reading. The way the German industry has come together to invest long-term in building trust through informing the public of the value of research and why market research is different from direct marketing / selling, is a lesson for us all. We strongly commend the Germans on their hard work over the last 12 years and congratulate them on the results they have achieved. GRBN works on increasing the trust the general public has in market research. To better understand the drivers of trust, GRBN has just completed a nine-country survey into this issue. The result shows a comparably high level of trust in market research in Germany. An insight that might be surprising as German population is known to be rather suspicious of data (mis-)use, thus giving the country among the highest standard of data protection laws. The declaration of the German research associations concerning the ESOMAR Code of Market and Social Research also tightens the rules set by the European research community. So what are the reasons for Germans trusting MR more than this is the case in other countries? One obvious reason for the higher trust of Germans in MR lays in the high statutory level of legislation and industry standards when it comes to data protection. In other words: there are good reasons for Germans not to suspect data misuse and to trust personal data protection instead (highest trust level among all participating countries). The acceptance declaration of the ESOMAR codex actually states: “Even if individual participants of a study explicitly express the request that their data are transmitted to the client also in a non anonymised form one may not comply with this.” But this is not the only explanation for Germans´ high trust level in MR. User experience (survey length, convenience, enjoyment etc.) is best in Germany and participants perceive the highest value of market research – for business, society, consumers in general and – last but not least – for themselves. This is exactly the message, the “Initiative Markt- und Sozialforschung” (IMSF) wants to convey. It was initiated in 2007, jointly founded as a separate legal entity in 2011, and is financed by the German associations of market and social research (ADM, BVM, DGOF and ASI). This initiative has the aim to inform the general public about the value of research and teaches how to differentiate between MR and direct marketing/sales. It provides the promise that MR never advertises or sells products and services, but treats personal data perfectly securely and separates them from survey data. To reach this target, IMSF utilises different channels to communicate to the population. An advertising campaign for print and radio has been developed and is broadly used. The campaign logo clearly states “anonymous – data protected – no sales” and invites to participate in MR. The website serves as a central element of the campaign, delivers detailed information including FAQs and provides direct feedback possibilities to be answered by the IMSF´s administration office. Since 2011, a yearly “Tour of Market Research” is conducted with tour stops – supported by local research companies – in the pedestrian areas of 10 German cities. Still in the early stages – but scheduled – is the use of social media as a communication channel. All these and further activities are supported by press relations, obviously have an effect and improve the level of trust in market and social research. One of the aims of the GRBN Building Public Trust programme is help associations across the globe undertake similiar initiatives. You can read more about the Building Public Trust programme here. If you are interested in finding out more about the programme or in supporting the work, please drop us a line. bwachter