CORPORATE REPUTATION SERIES
The most critical asset that a company possesses is its reputation aka prominence or prestige. And although reputation isn’t listed on balance sheets, it can go further in determining a company’s success than a new product, client, or channel strategy. Reputation has the power to loft business and earnings. It captures a company’s essence, personality, and positioning, and distinguishes the company from its peers. In short, reputation is a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the company’s overall appeal to its key constituents when compared with other rivals. Ultimately, reputation is what resides in the minds of people. It is a priceless asset.
CORPORATE REPUTATION EQUITY AUDIT [CREA]
How do you measure corporate reputation? A company’s reputation is the outcome of its reputation among numerous stakeholders – customers, investors/shareholders, suppliers, competitors, the general public, etc – in specific categories, such as product/service quality, client service, financial performance, sustainability, innovation, and so on. Effectively assessing corporate reputation ‘equity’ involves assessing a company’s reputation among various stakeholders. Since reputation is perception, it is perception that must be measured. This argues for the assessment of corporate reputation in multiple areas, in ways that are objective, qualitative, and quantitative.
The Corporate Reputation Equity Audit© [CREA] is an exercise designed to assess the wealth of a given company reputation through a specific research population: senior executives and senior managers. The audit contains six key performance indicators [KPIs]: customer strategy, market strategy, competitive strategy, people strategy, innovation strategy, and business model strategy. The trick is to get a handle on how a company performs on all six attributes. Each KPI is a sine qua non of a company’s good name.
The Corporate Reputation Equity Audit research framework is a basic roadmap for conducting research studies on the reputation of companies; it guides the research process.
Reputation, prominence or prestige indicates a value judgment on specific attributes. Research participants [senior executives and/or senior managers] are asked to rank companies on several unique attributes [i.e. six KPIs]. The audit pulls together an industry’s major KPIs into a single, complete and powerful package. In other words, the Corporate Reputation Equity Audit framework is organized into sections that address [six] broad categories of success. Accordingly, interview questions and statements discussed are closely related to the KPIs. Building a more prestigious company involves maximizing all attributes.
Given the multitude of sources, the problem is not getting data but deciding which sources to use. Specifically who you talk to is important. Accordingly, the sampling plan is a critical element of the research design. In all CREA studies, only management board, supervisory board, [non-]executive board, and/or advisory board members or other senior managers are included. It is desirable to have at least 50 research participants to be analyzed thoroughly, although more is preferred to gain robustness, and increase predictive powers.
Interviews/talks give essential information that cannot be derived from other sources. All people have a story to tell. One-on-one interviews or conversations are a dialogue with a great deal of flexibility and can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. In practice, longer and broader surveys tend to favor one-on-one interviews/talks, and, not the least important, high-level research participants tend to respond better to such interviews/conversations.
Corporate reputation research books are available through amazon.com and other online retail channels.