Reputation Tidbits

March 28, 2017

Reputation Tidbits

Gosh, it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been a nonstop quarter and I feel like I can breathe this weekend. So I thought I’d mention a few things that have been on my radar reputation-wise.

First, Harris Poll RQ released their 2017 corporate reputation study that included some interesting metrics. First, they find that crisis in one company does not necessarily infect other companies in the same industry. Thus, a company that has lost reputational standing in the financial services industry does not necessarily transfer its problems to other industry peers. That’s good news. The Harris Poll analysts also revealed that some companies are more liked (have higher RQs) by Republicans than Democrats. The polarization that exists today carries itself into reputational favorability among the public. This is notable because more CEOs are making their positions known on hot-button societal issues. So it makes sense for CEOs to know where their companies stand on the conservative vs. liberal spectrum before taking on additional risk. For example, Target is preferred more by Democrats and Hobby Lobby by Republicans. The Harris Poll RQ chart on reputation risk, resilience and recovery over time is extremely insightful for those of us following reputation longitudinally. Recovery is clearly possible when companies take the right steps – that’s good news. The not so good news is how far companies can fall when their sins are made public.

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According to the Poll, the biggest risks to reputation are intentional wrongdoing or illegal actions by corporate leaders (85%), lying or misinterpreting the facts about a product or service (83%) and intentional misuse of financial information for financial gain (82%). Other risks to reputation damage include security or data breaches (74%), unfair workplace conditions and culture (67%), workplace discrimination (65%), product recall due to contamination (65%) and poor leadership conduct (64%).

I was not too happy to see that 50% of the American public disapproves of CEOs with only 25% saying they approve (have a good reputation). The remaining 26% are neutral. But there always is a silver lining and that is that Millennials are more positive about CEOs than the other generations (33%). There is hope.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

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 corporate and CEO reputations.

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