Reputation Ups and Downs
I’ve been very busy so have not had a chance to mention two studies related to reputation that are worth reviewing.
The first one is about industry reputation which continues to intrigue me. The Harris Interactive Poll found that the most credible industries among 2,152 adult Americans are supermarkets, hospitals, banks and electric and gas utilities. They have been doing this research since 2003. Not too surprisingly but disturbing nevertheless was that when asked this question about 17 industries, a large 48% said “none of these” industries are trustworthy. This was the highest number of people saying this since 2003. Overall, no one industry is doing particularly well and this speaks to the overall downturn in perceptions of business over the decade.
Base: All U.S. adults
|Electric and gas utilities||n/a||n/a||14||14||15||16||16||19||+3||n/a|
|Computer hardware companies||27||29||27||20||18||17||23||16||-7||-11|
|Computer software companies||22||25||22||23||17||16||20||15||-5||-7|
|Packaged food companies||23||23||21||14||12||13||16||11||-5||-12|
|Pharmaceutical and drug companies||13||14||9||7||11||10||9||11||+2||-2|
|Life insurance companies||11||15||10||11||10||9||10||10||–||-1|
|Health insurance companies||7||9||9||7||7||7||7||8||+1||+1|
|Managed care companies such as HMOs||4||5||5||4||5||5||5||7||+2||+3|
|None of these||37||32||37||40||44||44||44||48||+4||11|
|Note: Multiple-response question; n/a = industry not asked about that year|
The second survey that should be on your radar is research by Nora Ganim Barnes. She has been diligently surveying Fortune 500 companies with regard to their social media usage. Social reputation is a growing component of reputation which is why I am writing about this. This is the third survey that she has done on this topic at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Here are some of her key findings for 2010 (conducted in August/September 2010) which are great to track over time.
1. One quarter (23%) of Fortune 500 companies have a public-facing corporate blog with a recent post over the past 12 months. Two years ago, only 16% had blogs so this is a healthy increase.
2. When it comes to industries, the industries with the most blogs are computer software, peripherals and office equipment. This includes companies such as HP, Microsoft, Apple. There have been increases in blogs in the specialty retail industry (Best Buy as an example) and telecommunications as well (Verizon, AT&T).
3. About one third (32%) of top 100 ranked Fortune 500 companies had a blog, a slight dip from 38% in 2008.
4. A whopping 90% of Fortune 500 blogs take comments, have RSS feeds and take subscriptions. That is good news to see that these blogs are interactive and not one-way.
5. They looked at corporate Twitter accounts (had to have tweeted in the past 30 days) and 60% had Twitter accounts, a jump up from 35% in 2009. Nine of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies had accounts and consistently posted. Specialty retail companies were the most likely to have Twitter accounts. Since they are so consumer-facing, makes sense.
6. A fairly large 56% of the Fortune 500 companies are on Facebook. Not bad but not up to the level it should be and will be over time.
Industry reputations are still failing but social media seems to be exploding (Twitter and Facebook) among the top companies in the US. We are witnessing the Great American Reach Out. Industry reputations could begin the climb upwards if there was greater adoption of interactivity. No doubt industries will take this seriously and jump onboard. CEOs as well will become more socialized in the years ahead.