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Restoring public trust by building stronger relationships

Dr. Mugdha Rai is addressing public mistrust by teaching her students how to design ethical and effective communications strategies.

According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, less than 60 per cent of Australians trust government and business. A lack of transparency and integrity in government and corporate communication, is partly to blame. Dr Rai uses her expertise to identify the reasons behind these findings, with the aim to educate future generations of marketing and communications specialists on how to build and maintain trust. Alongside these lessons, Dr Rai incorporates effective design and ethical communication strategies into our Marketing and Digital Communications courses.

From journalism to academia

Dr Rai began her career in India as a journalist before venturing to Australia for postgraduate study, and eventually a career in academia. After researching media coverage of various issues, Dr Rai realised she was more interested in how people outside the sector use communication strategies. Compelled to share her learnings with students, Dr Rai teaches the tools required to create and improve effective communication.

With scepticism surrounding communications and PR (Public Relations) industries, Dr Rai wants to show communications and marketing professionals that when implemented correctly, communications can foster societal trust. She believes providing the industry with these tools, knowledge, and skillsets, would enhance its sense of integrity and public engagement.

Marginalised communities have long been excluded from public discussion and Dr Rai is passionate about using her expertise to empower them. Whether it’s advocacy concerning race, gender, sexuality, or environmental issues, she looks at the ways communication can be utilised to effectively promote different agendas for change. Dr Rai enables these groups by providing them with the communication skills they need to engage in the public sphere and have their voices heard in the community.


When does trust become compromised?

There are a variety of reasons why Australians may not trust government and business organisations. A leading cause of suspicion and mistrust is ineffective and inconsistent communication.

During the recent pandemic, there were several examples of mismanaged communications highlighting these repercussions. Inconsistent messaging across different states led to a tangible loss of community trust in the public healthcare system and the spread of misinformation. Making healthcare messaging around COVID-19 more effective would have ensured that information reached different communities and demographics in more beneficial ways. Dr Rai highlights the importance of creating tailored communication strategies for specific groups. Our courses are specifically designed to empower you to understand the communities you’re working with and their needs.

Public cynicism towards organisations and their communications is growing rapidly. When the community senses that brands and entities are inauthentic in their communications – i.e., simply telling them what they want to hear, to sell or push their agenda – people disconnect and switch off.

Mugdha blog image

‘You get to the point where if an organisation or communicator loses credibility, people don’t listen to your message anyway.’

Engaging and communicating in the public domain is an exceptional responsibility and needs to be approached with careful consideration and respect for diverse stakeholders. Our Marketing and Digital Communications courses are designed by changemakers like Dr Rai to meet this challenge, empowering future marketing and communications leaders with the skills needed to build credible and meaningful relationships between the public and enterprise – and thereby help to restore public trust.