Ipsos Global Reputation Centre

The Reputation Council Report 2017: Full Report

Welcome to the latest report from the IPSOS Reputation Council. Our twelfth sitting is the most international to date, involving interviews with 127 senior communicators in 22 different countries.

Our recent Ipsos Global Trends Survey of citizens around the world highlighted the relationship between the speed of change in society and the sense of insecurity people have about their future. In many ways the same issues are impacting reputation management and the corporate environment.

With the pace of change quickening, many companies are feeling challenged just to keep up. The established order is breaking down and agents for progressive change are no longer drawn solely from the public sector – companies are redefining their role within the context of the wider world and for many this can feel like strange and uncharted waters.

Given this complex and dynamic environment, we decided to ask Council members about the challenges they face in their day to day activities. We wanted to know how the modern day corporate communicator coped with this changing landscape.

We also felt members may have some interesting thoughts about corporate activism – specifically when it’s right to take a stand and the risks and rewards of doing so. Building on this theme, we explored the importance of the ‘employer brand’ and asked the Reputation Council about its role in fostering reputation improvement from the inside and out.

In current times, we seem to have constant coverage around the importance of Millennials and the way in which companies are focusing on them in their communications strategies. We wanted Council members’ perspectives on this issue. Are Millennials truly a different audience from a communications perspective? Do they really have a unique take on the world and do they behave in a way that is fundamentally distinct from anyone else?

Finally, we wanted to talk to members about one of the most important commercial issues in reputation management – equity flow. Specifically, the way in which good will or equity can flow in either direction between corporate and product brand(s) and the benefits this can bring.

We hope you find this issue of The Reputation Council report to be of interest and, as ever, would welcome any thoughts or feedback you may have.

Milorad Ajder
Trent Ross

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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...