The Reputation Leaders Study is an annual assessment by Reputation Institute that answers the simple question: what’s on the minds of corporate communications executives?
We perform this analysis to identify trends and discover what CCOs around the world care most about; their challenges and opportunities and how corporate reputation impacts their roles and the companies they represent.
Who did we interview?
In 2018 our data and insights team spoke with over 170 c-suite executives and directors who lead their company’s respective corporate communications teams. We specifically connected with executives representing North America, Latin America, EMEA and APAC, across 17 industries.
Here’s what we learned:
1. Reputation is a top priority, yet few have plans to manage it.
Reputation capability starts with initial exploration and understanding of the business rationale and culminates in full integration that guides long-term strategy for a company.
For context, in 2014, most companies were in the early to mid-stages of their reputation capabilities, while only 15% were at the most advanced stages of either cross-functional or full integration (Figure 1).
In 2014, the majority of corporate communicators, over 60%, view reputation as a high priority for companies; however, only 16% reported that they had plans to manage reputation.
Figure 1: 2014 Reputation Capabilities Levels
Moving to 2018, a higher proportion of companies are moving towards advanced reputation integration, with a 17% increase in either cross-functional or complete integration (Figure 2).
Figure 2: 2014-2018 Reputation Capabilities Shift
With this shift towards integration, comes an enhanced sense of readiness. In 2018, 67% of corporate communicators report that they are ready to take on and manage reputation.
Yet, despite this sense of readiness, companies are not equipped to properly manage their reputation. Only a third of respondents are taking proactive steps to strategically implement reputation efforts and only 43% are measuring it among stakeholders critical to their business strategy.
2. CEOs are responsible for corporate reputation.
At a time when 88% of corporate communicators state that corporate reputation is of moderate to high priority at an executive level; CEOs are taking matters in their own hands. While many CCOs are still primarily accountable for reputation, increasingly they are feeling that other c-suite leaders – especially the CEO – are assuming more leadership for reputation. The study reports that 27% of respondents state the CEO as the predominant manager of reputation, while only 19% place that responsibility with corporate communications.
3. Top challenges: Executive buy-in, KPIs, process implementation
Under pressure from the CEO, many CCOs are frustrated by internal challenges of getting buy-in for a data source that measures reputation, and that aligns with other corporate KPIs and business results.
4. Top Solutions: Be an employer of choice, win earned media
In hopes of moving towards tighter alignment on reputation and better business integration, companies are taking initiative to understand and manage reputation, related to their current business needs. These initiatives include:
5. Reputation impacts revenue, workplace, risk, positioning.
56% of CCOs strongly believe that corporate reputation has a financial impact on their company. Beyond this stat, CCOs quantify the value of reputation as a:
6. Reputation measurement is essential for competitive advantage.
Reputation is shaping the world and moving markets through key global macro-trends. C-Suite Execs can apply these leading macro-trend insights to their company to help them win on reputation relative to the competition. What steps can the C-Suite take to become more reputation ready and manage these often tumultuous reputation macro-trends?
Members of Ri’s Reputation Leaders Network have immediate access to our data and insights on this report.
Please contact us directly if you’d like information on how to join the Reputation Leaders Network — a community of communications and marketing executives.