The U.S. business community puts its trust in investor Warren Buffett more than any other company leader, a new poll finds.
The research by communications consulting firm Speakeasy, Inc. discovered that the Omaha billionaire was held in high regard by business professionals for being plainspoken, authentic and having motivations based on more than just money.
"He paints the picture of authenticity toward which people naturally gravitate," said Scott Weiss, CEO of Speakeasy.
Other highly trusted business leaders among those surveyed included Chick-Fil-A's S. Truett Cathy, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, which owns more than 400 companies.
The poll found that the most common reasons the leaders were rated so highly were for their abilities to inspire people, their authenticity, their transparency and their skill at connecting with others.
When it comes to brands, the research found that professionals rated Google and Starbucks as the most trustworthy.
"Delivering consistently high-quality products and customer service is the hallmark of a successful company, but in order to build enough equity to be named the most trustworthy, companies must bring something more to the equation," Weiss said. "Google and Starbucks are ubiquitous and reliable, and both have very public social programs with which people like to align themselves."
American Express, Target, State Farm, Chick-Fil-A and Amazon were among the other companies those in the business community trusted.
While Buffett and Google may be earning the most trust, politicians are at the other end of the spectrum. When asked who they would trust to deliver them a message among business associates, politicians, salespeople, celebrities or news media, not one person surveyed choose a politician.
"What this says to me is that politicians need to take a good look at what they really represent in the public eye," Weiss said. "Exacerbating the issue is the disturbing need to run every word uttered by a politician through a fact-checking process in order to validate their honesty."