Ipsos Corporate Reputation

Global Perspectives on Sector Reputations

Which industries are facing the greatest reputation challenges at the moment?

North America

Despite almost ten years having passed since the financial crisis, the financial services industry continues to be seen as the sector facing the greatest reputational challenge in North America, mentioned by over half (56%) of Council members; ‘there is still too much risk involved; the lingering effects of the global crisis’.

The energy sector also comes under scrutiny (mentioned by 50%), with climate change and alternative energy most mentioned as issues for the sector to address. Nominations for the pharma industry have risen slightly (now 38%). One Council member observes that ‘a handful of players have led folks to believe that this is how all companies operate. One bad apple spoils the bunch’.

Latin America

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the region’s history and geography, mining is nominated as an industry facing reputational challenges by a significant proportion (75%) of Council members interviewed in Latin America. Members say the industry faces complex challenges, needing to balance generating revenue and employment for the region, while mitigating their impact on communities and the environment; ‘through illegal mining, a negative impact was caused to vulnerable sectors, which has generated a collective feeling of rejection.’

Europe

In Europe, much as in North America, the financial services industry continues to feel the impact of the financial crisis, mentioned by six in ten (58%) as an industry facing reputational challenges. Council members also mention executive pay, cyber security, and a general lack of trust in banking as issues facing the sector, with members noting that ‘the banks will likely always feature’ because ‘fundamentally, people don’t trust the bankers’.

Mentions of energy have risen since 2016. While climate change and pricing remain issues for the sector to address, the impact of new technology (e.g. electric cars) on energy demand emerges as a new issue for the sector to take action on; ‘if we suddenly get a massive shift to electric cars, even in the next 2, 3 or 5 years…where does that electricity come from?’

Asia Pacific

The financial services industry continues to struggle in APAC, mentioned by three-quarters (73%) of Council members this year. As in other markets, the legacy of the 2008 crisis continues to impact the sector, with other mentions including mis-selling scandals and negligent consumer lending. In particular, Council members say the sector faces the challenge of communicating complex issues in a clear, succinct way; ‘their working is very opaque. And even when they try and explain, and become transparent, it’s very complex.’ As in other regions, Energy emerges as a sector of concern this year, mentioned by two-fifths (41%) of Council members. Reliability, affordability and sustainability are the key issues to address.

In full: how Reputation Council members around the world perceived each sector's reputation

Methodology: 127 interviews conducted with Reputation Council members between April and August 2017.

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Unlocking the Value of Reputation: Full Report

THE DEFINITIVE LINK BETWEEN CORPORATE REPUTATION AND BETTER BUSINESS EFFICIENCY

Looking to make your company run more effectively and efficiently?

Management teams around the world face a variety of complex business situations daily. A great place to start boosting your business is by leveraging the power of your reputation.

Ipsos Global Reputation Centre research across 31 countries shows conclusive proof of the relationship between a good reputation and better business efficiency.

Our research explores:

BUILDING TRUST GIVES COMPANIES AN ADVANTAGE IN TELLING THEIR STORY IN TIMES OF CRISIS, MARKETING THEIR PRODUCTS EFFICIENTLY, AND TURNING STAKEHOLDERS INTO ADVOCATES.

Reputation and trust are powerful forces in business efficiency.

The social media landscape may be changing how people interact with companies. There may be regulatory issues impacting some sectors more than others. You may be doing business in a region that’s inherently more skeptical than the rest of the world.

But the bottom line remains the same: building trust builds reputation. And having a good reputation will result in better business efficiency.

Methodology: The latest wave of the Ipsos Global Reputation Monitor, conducted in September 2017, measured attitudes of more than 23,000 consumers from 31 countries toward 66 companies across nine industries.

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The link between trust, reputation and benefit of the doubt

BUILDING TRUST BUILDS REPUTATION. A GOOD REPUTATION BUILDS BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, AND ENSURES YOUR VOICE IS HEARD IN A CRISIS.

Trust matters. When you trust someone, you give them the benefit of the doubt. If that person gets in trouble, you will hear their side of the story before jumping to conclusions.

Companies seek to build the same benefit of the doubt among their stakeholders. Without a strong reputation, companies risk not having a receptive audience for their story when they need one the most.

Globally, people are generally willing to give companies the benefit of the doubt (24% definitely and 48% probably). This willingness to give the benefit of the doubt is tightly linked to overall trust.

Among people who trust a company a great deal, more than half (59%) say they would definitely give that company the benefit of the doubt in a crisis. Among people who are feel neutral toward a company, that percentage shrinks to just 10%.

How benefit of the doubt varies by industry

The imperative to build a strong reputation to get the benefit of the doubt is greatest in high risk sectors. However, EVERY company has risk and can obtain a competitive advantage by building a reputation that they can draw on in times of trouble.

At the industry level, technology companies are much more likely to get the benefit of the doubt than others. Highly regulated industries are viewed more skeptically.

Globally, technology and automotive companies have the strongest reputations and consequently the strongest benefit of the doubt.

Benefit of the doubt and trust are highly correlated. When companies build trust, they are building up benefit of the doubt.

The link between trust and benefit of the doubt are most tightly related at the ends of the spectrum - companies with the best reputation get the most benefit of the doubt, and least trusted companies generate very little benefit of the doubt. Companies in the middle (trust-wise), have more variance when it comes to getting the benefit of the doubt.

Airlines, telecommunications, and oil and gas companies have the greatest challenges.

How benefit of the doubt varies by region

Overall, Europeans are more skeptical of companies, while Latin Americans are more likely to give companies the benefit of the doubt.

Generally, a majority of people in every region say they would “probably” give companies the benefit of the doubt during times of crisis. This likelihood to extend the benefit of the doubt is why it is so important for companies to make sure they react appropriately to crises. An over-reaction due to a few hard-core skeptics can cause more harm than good. Companies need to remember that they generally have the benefit of the doubt and should therefore be forthcoming, rather than defensive.

Skeptical Europeans are a tougher audience than people from other parts of the world.

The impact of regulation on trust and benefit of the doubt

Oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications companies face the greatest amount of regulatory risk, and have the lowest trust and benefit of the doubt scores. While risk is also high for insurance and banking, there is also some evidence of people feeling these industries are over-regulated.

The desire for regulation is highest in Europe and North America, and lowest in APAC.

Methodology: The latest wave of the Ipsos Global Reputation Monitor, conducted in September 2017, measured attitudes of more than 23,000 consumers from 31 countries toward 66 companies across nine industries.

Read more from 'Unlocking the Value of Reputation'...

Read more from the Ipsos Global Reputation Centre...