New research shows company perception challenge

New research findings released by MSLGROUP reveal important differences between countries and clusters of countries in terms of how a company is perceived by the general public.

Most starkly, there appears to be a clear distinction between how consumers from the “Old World” and “New World” rate the same companies.

Findings from MSLGROUP’s Reputation Impact Indicator study highlight key challenges facing global reputation managers today.

The research shows respondents in Brazil, China, India, and South Africa have a more positive perception of companies than their counterparts in North America, and particularly in Europe, where respondents can be said to demonstrate greater skepticism towards companies in general.

Specifically the study shows that the most significant variations in corporate reputation are between respondents in India (who provided an average Reputation Core score of 79 across all companies) and Swedish respondents (providers of the lowest average Reputation Core score of 51).

At an individual company level, the study findings also point to the likelihood of enjoying a markedly different reputation from country to country, even if a company has high brand awareness in each.

For example, GlaxoSmithKline has a Reputation Core score between 81 and 42 points with the highest being in India and the lowest in Sweden. Similarly, HSBC’s Reputation Core score varies from 78 points in China to 45 in Sweden.

Glenn Osaki, President, MSLGROUP in Asia commented, “ Brands are global corporate reputation is local.There are large variances in the reputation of individual companies at a country level. The differences observed between ‘the old world’ and ‘the new world’ underline the need for a finely tuned reputation strategy. Brands should avoid a standardized global definition of reputation, but attend to each individual market with insight and care.”

The Reputation Impact Indicator also sheds light on the importance of corporate “mind space” a measurement of how easily a person can relate to a company
n determining a brand or company’s reputation.

In fact, the study shows that those companies and brands with high relatability, and thus a clear ability to elicit an instinctive, intuitive reaction among consumers, enjoyed a reputation that was 43% higheron average than those that did not.

The study’s results demonstrate that “mind space” meaning both how easily a person relates to a company and the nature of the connotations invoked plays a different but equally important role in corporate reputation compared to people’s rational views about products, services, financial performance, corporate behavior and how those companies manage relationship with consumers.

The study questioned over 25,000 people in ten countries and analyzes how members of the public worldwide retrieve the information they use to form an opinion about a company.

The Reputation Impact Indicator also explored the individual drivers of reputation and looked at the relative significance of each driver across industries.

The findings provide rich insights that will help the C-Suite zone in on one or more specific areas of “Reputation Core” that they should address. For example, corporate behavior has a larger impact on corporate reputation of pharmaceutical companies than businesses in other industries.

Similarly, internet companies also display an industry specific pattern: providing products and services that are perceived as “value for money” does not have the same impact on corporate reputation as it does in the three other industry clusters pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics and FMCG where “value” is one of the core drivers.

Read and download MSLGROUP’s Reputation Impact Indicator study here on Slideshare: