The UK’s leading and most well regarded corporate reputations were unveiled in London as the results of Reputation Institute’s RepTrak Pulse study were announced at the Institute of Directors (IoD).
Who came first and why? I spotted an article by ex-CEO of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, Jane Wilson, @thatwilsonwoman, on her personal blog about #ukreptrak, and she’s kindly allowed me to reproduce it here. Thank you Jane, over to you…
The high street leads the way in UK’s best corporate reputations
It may be no surprise that the British public placed high street favourite John Lewis Partnership in the top spot.
Other high street brands in the top ten included Next, Wilkinson and House of Fraser. In the wake of recent poor performance, M&S, which held last year’s top position, did not even feature in the 2014 top ten.
In second place overall, Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s took first place in the food retailer category which saw broad increases across its top ten.
This could indicate a growing trust amongst consumers after the horse meat scandals of 2013 and was reflected in the food production category. Here, the efforts of Findus to repair its damaged reputation appear to be paying off as it took the top position amongst producers.
What makes a winning reputation?
I asked Andrew Moys, Director of Communications at John Lewis Group about what makes theirs a winning brand. Moys was clear that it is down to a collaborative, company wide effort:
We’re an employee owned business so the reality is our reputation is owned by all 91,000 of our Partners.
“When you walk into a Waitrose or John Lewis shop, you’re being served by an owner and our reputation rests on the service our customers receive through any channel.”
A strong reputation like theirs doesn’t happen without a consistent approach and Moys pointed out that they put a huge amount of effort into communicating “regularly and openly in good times and bad.
“We have communications teams at a Group level, in John Lewis and Waitrose and marketing teams who help get this message across and build both brands, but it all ultimately rests on customer experience. That’s down to our Partners and the service they give each day.”
Six steps to reputation management
The value of customer experience in shaping reputation was supported by speaker John Ludlow of Intercontinental Hotels (IHG). Ludlow described how IHG how they have relied on delivering great stakeholder experiences to take the hotel brand on a journey from “trust to love” and how the company uses a six stage approach to measure and manage reputation.
Ludlow echoed the importance of collaboration in building a strong reputation describing the six steps as a “collaborative programme involving communications, strategy and risk management”.
He highlighted the importance of continual assessment and questioning. “We ask where are we in relation to our competition and against the drivers of reputation”. IHG places importance on closing the gap between perceived and actual reputation and uses research to understand “why stakeholders have the perceptions they do and what we can do to fix negative or wrong perceptions”.
About the research
The RepTrak Pulse research measures the degree of admiration, trust, good feeling and overall esteem that stakeholders hold about organisations. It looks at performance and stakeholder feedback in seven areas identified as driving corporate reputation: Products/Services, Innovation, Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, Leadership and Financial Performance. The company scores are then ranked by category, by reputation driver and overall against all other organisations in the study.
Post author: Jane Wilson
Thanks again Jane, I’m intrigued by the “trust to love” description above!
Reputation is very closely linked with trust, a topic I’ve blogged about many times. From reading the report, this part jumped out at me: “Your success as a company relies on people supporting you. For them to support you, they need to trust you: Trust you as a company that will deliver on its promises. Trust you as a company who has a good reputation.”
Congratulations to the John Lewis Partnership. I read an article in Corp Comms Magazine that mentioned their score was 87.68 out of 100 (up by seven percentage points in a year).
I spotted the new John Lewis advert the other day, marking their 150 year heritage. I’d love to know what is being done internally to communicate and celebrate their milestone.
Their website has a dedicated section with lots of ways for customers to get involved, so one can only imagine the internal excitement!
Aside from the fact the branding for the 150 year anniversary is predominantly teal, which is my favourite colour (can you tell from my website?!), I’m impressed by what I can see externally.
If anyone works for the company and would like to share their story, do please get in touch.
Picture credit: Reputation Institute via Flickr.