What makes a corporation more successful than others? If it was mere revenue or other monetary gains that would be one measurement that is certainly more tangible, but today’s consumers are more cynical. There has been too many reasons to mistrust companies and simply making lots of money is important, but rarely is a focus on profit the best way to attract brand loyalty from the public.
According to a recent press release of the Reputation Institute, “After several years of turmoil tied to the global financial crisis, corporate reputations have begun to stabilize as companies rebuild trust and respect with consumers,” said Jamie Bedard, CEO of Reputation Institute. “Continuing a trend, the companies with the strongest reputations are focused on more than just the products or services they sell, with corporate social responsibility – citizenship, governance and workplace…”
In 2015, the list had some interesting choices. According to the research of the Reputation Institute, the top 10 include the following:
- The Walt Disney Company
In 2015, Reputation Institute conducted more than 61,000 interviews to measure the perception of companies. Factors such as innovation, leadership, governance, citizenship, workplace, performance, and products/services were used to measure the companies.
Furthermore, emotional connection to the company also plays a big role. LEGO and Disney may well have a lasting effect as adults fondly remember their childhood toys or movies while today’s children discover what these companies have to offer. Apple, Sony and Intel may not be “warm and fuzzy” but innovation and its continued dedication to upgrading its products surely has helped their reputations.
The Research Institute noted that of late many corporations have made some terrible mistakes (Volkswagen, etc.). But the Reputation Institute found that buyers can be very forgiving: “The majority of consumers will give reputable companies the benefit of the doubt in a crisis, compared to only 20 percent for companies with a poor reputation.”
While revenues and stocks are one way to measure the success of the company – they are not the only factor. Reputation management for business is gaining importance in our increasingly interconnected online world and a dedication to the environment, social causes and innovation is not to be taken lightly. BMW, number one on the survey, says “The BMW Group delivered more than two million vehicles to customers in 2014, the company’s fourth record year in a row. Due to the success of the BMW i vehicles, production continues to ramp up. The BMW Group is the first automotive company to manufacture using significant quantities of carbon fiber.”
Another important aspect of putting companies high on the reputation list is corporate responsibility and governance. In other words – does a successful company give back? According to LEGO representatives, “…we have always had a huge focus on operating in a responsible manner in order to positively impact the world we live in.
Good corporate culture has also played into a company’s reputation. Is the happiness and well- being of its employees. Does the company have a good corporate culture?
Apple says, “We care deeply about every worker in Apple’s global supply chain. To improve their lives, we continue to proactively tackle issues that are part of the broader challenges facing our world today —human rights and equality, environmental protection, and education. We have long championed these causes, and 2014 was a year of tremendous progress.”
Companies that have seen their identities rise and fall in the public forum are the following brands as Coca Cola, Toyota and others: The Reputation Institute says, “The largest 5 year net reputation losses from 2011-2015 were posted by DuPont and The Coca-Cola Company, followed closely by Xerox, Panasonic, and Hewlett-Packard. Honda and Goodyear also lost ground by over 4 points.”
Why and how can a company change a bad reputation? Often times companies that focuses more on innovation and corporate responsibility can rally back. “NIKE, Inc.’s Board of Directors established a Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Committee in 2001… In 2013, the Committee updated its charter to review strategy and performance, and to formally include sustainability and innovation,” noted the Reputation Institute.