Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bestselling Books on Corporate Reputation

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The changing function and value of a brand

I got hold of an article in Asiamoney, Sept04 (thanks Dave) on the changing function and value of brands.

Brands were first regarded merely as trademarks, names and logos that differentiated one product or service from another. This concept was then extended into entire visual identity systems: with guidelines for everything from packaging to advertising, seeking always to differentiate the 'look' of the product. More recently, it has been recognized that brands define ongoing relationships through the power of their personalities and values, which further distinguishes branded products and services from their competitors.

Initially, only the customer relationship was considered. Now, the leaders in brand management recognize that brands define relationships with all their key audiences, notably investors and employees. They also acknowledge that relationships and values relate to behaviour. This means that in the best managed brands, the brand's values are accepted and practiced by the workforce, particularly in service businesses such as banking and insurance. The employees have a relationship with their brand that is the counterpart of the intended customer relationships.

According to Synovate's Brendan Shair, brand is the glue that binds the personality of an organization and the brand should be put at the centre of corporate strategy. "You need a brand internally as a tool to bind things together such as your culture and strategy," he says. "A brand is also used to attract your strategic partners, your business associates, and your staff".

Monday, August 30, 2004

Global Branding Strategy

According to Douglas B. Holt, John A. Quelch, and Earl L. Taylor (HBR September 2004) it's time to rethink your global branding strategy.

Many corporations are following hybrid globalization approaches (striving for global scale on backstage activities such as technology, production, and organization, but customizing product features, communications, distribution, and selling techniques to local consumer tastes). Global brands have been under siege of antiglobalization protests. The reaction of most transnational companies has been to try to fly below the radar.

But global brands shouldn't try to escape notice. Many consumers are awed by the political power of companies that have sales greater than the GDPs of small nations and that have a powerful impact on people's lives as well as the welfare of communities, nations, and the planet itself. Not surprisingly, consumers ascribe certain characteristics to global brands and use those attributes as criteria while making purchase decisions.

A survey turned out that consumers predominantly base purchasing preferences on three characteristics dimensions of global brands:
- Quality Signal
- Global Myth
- Social Responsibility

Holt, Quelch and Taylor recommend transnational companies strive for superiority on these global characteristics, besides 'working the basics' like the brand's price, performance, features, and imagery.

Monday, August 23, 2004

UK: Big increase in concern for corporate reputations

R has become more important as a barometer of company health in recent years in the UK, according to MORI's annual Captains of Industry survey. In 2003, 48% of CEOs, chairmen and senior board members of the FTSE's top 500 companies spontaneously mentioned image and R as the main criteria they use to judge a company - ahead of indicators such as financial performance and product/service quality.

This marks a big shift from 1983, when only 8% of company leaders showed concern for R.

'What has changed is businesses now take a much wider view of their operations, and they think and serve a broader community,' says Liz Hewitt, group corporate affairs director at FTSE 100 medical device maker Smith & Nephew. She explains that the so-called captains have to consider the needs of a wider range of stakeholders than their counterparts in 1983 did, a group that spans customers, suppliers, employees, trade groups, shareholders and government. R is of concern to all interest groups.
Weber Shandwick UK & Ireland chief executive Colin Byrne says CEOs have picked up on R because they see a definite link to the more traditional benchmarks of long-term financial performance, ability to attract and retain the best staff, and customer approval.
Hill & Knowlton MD of corporate comms Stuart Wilson believes it is corporate governance scandals, such as those involving Parmalat, Enron and Shell, that have left boardrooms shaken, while rocketing corporate R up the agenda.
Interesting, don't you think: 3 different explanations for a single phenomena.
View the Survey

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Google Thyself

According to JupiterResearch, 90 percent of online users search the Internet for product and company information before they make a purchase. 91 percent percent of journalists say they use search engines to research articles, reports The Pew Research Center. And according to public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, 84 percent of the group defined as e-fluentials - the group of the most influential "movers and shakers" who help shape opinions - have read product or service related messages on opinion Web sites in the past year. How do they find these Web sites? Search engines.
In an interesting article, Rob Key, President & CEO of Converseon says the top result pages under a company or product name have clearly become a highly influential new form of media, and the top rankings have become the new "digital front pages." Yet for many companies that otherwise spend substantial sums investing in their reputation and brand, they are often unpleasantly surprised when they "Google" themselves.
The reason? While the Web is an increasingly powerful channel to promote company goods and services or to build a community of interest, it also presents the unscrupulous or merely disgruntled with a powerful mechanism to damage a company's image online and offline.

Monday, July 05, 2004

A good reputation can be measured in dollars

Reputation matters. If managed well, it is a valuable asset and represents a significant proportion of a firm's market value.
It is a source of stock market equity. It is a source of stakeholder loyalty and makes an organisation more resilient to sudden and unexpected downturns.
What is reputation? Simply stated, it is the overall esteem in which an organisation is held. It is an assessment, made over time, of its ability to provide valued outcomes to stakeholders.
If it is so simple, why are so many organisations getting it so wrong? Why are they learning, too late, of its vital importance? Article

Thursday, June 24, 2004

How firms must show they're not cheating

Jim Sloan of Hill & Knowlton makes some good remarks in an article on communicating on ethical standards, stating the public has grown cynical about corporations, and it is convinced that it's impossible to succeed without cheating. Day-to-day life reinforces this theory on many levels. Simply brandishing an ethics manual and stating proudly that all your employees must read it and sign it won't do, nor will putting an emphasis on teaching values and enforcing them - essental though that is. So convincing the public that you are not cheating today requires an extra dimension of persuasiveness about the business itself - conveying, in a believable way, just how you are going to succeed in an admittedly dog-eat-dog climate. Article