Reputation Updates

March 02, 2011

Reputation Updates

A double whammy this week.
Just saw that a new corporate reputation survey by Prophet come out today and tomorrow Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies survey hits the airwaves. Prophet surveyed consumers in the U.S. and found that “attributes related to openness, ethics, and the kind of public dialog companies foster in response to marketplace events and circumstances were deemed most important.” Companies’ behavior in response to crisis and difficult times apparently makes a difference in perceptions.  How people deal with adversity matters in our perceptions of friends and colleagues, why not companies? I was not surprised reading this since a company’s character and values are most on display when companies are under assault or scrutiny. You learn alot about people and companies when they are in the spotlight or shadows.

I finally found a moment on the train to read McKinsey’s latest research on how well companies manage their government relations. In fact, today I was talking to someone about this so it was definitely top of mind. He made the point that reputation matters even more today because government has such a big role in business affairs and can affect economic outcomes.  There is one CEO I quote often who said that government affairs was his 7th line of business. Love that line.

The McKinsey survey was conducted among corporate executives around the world and this was my favorite part. When asked which stakeholders would have the greatest effect on corporate economic value over the next 3 to 5 years, 74% named customers. Makes sense. But second on the list came government/regulators at 53%.  This highly influential group ranked higher than employees (49%), investors (28%), suppliers (17%), media (measley 9%, ouch), NGOs (mere 3%, ouch) and organized labor (2%, definitely ouch).  When you look at industries such as health care, energy and financial, government/regulators are #1 for each….ahead of customers and all the rest when these executives are thinking out 3 to 5 years from now. Now that says something about where reputation will be headed too.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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