Millward Brown: Reputation AMP


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ReputationAMP: New thinking on stakeholder research, profiling reputation, building trust and earning advocacy.

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Millward Brown: Reputation AMP

  1. 1. the spotlight never feltso intenseCreating, nurturing and upholding a corporate reputation is one ofthe most critical and fundamental tasks facing senior leaders today.An organisation may speak of having values but, without Whereas it was once more prevalent for extraction, Millward Brown’s Reputation Asset Manager and Profiler – ReputationAMPdemonstrable action, it lacks credibility. What a corporate pharmaceutical and tobacco multinationals to face forensic public – has been developed from the expert knowledge of our specialist corporatebrand stands for and how a company conducts business examination for practices that impinged on the environment, research practice and our collaborative partnerships with leading academicsimpact powerfully, not only on the minds of customers, but social justice or health, now such issues are central to the on reputation risk research. The result is a company-specific, diagnosticalso stakeholders. reputation of any organisation, from whatever sector. methodology, generating insight and recommending action that will improve reputational strength, tackle weaknesses and maximise opportunities.In today’s connected society all of us are becoming Transparency is all, and increasingly customers andincreasingly knowledgeable about company behaviour. Public commentators are expecting companies to show explicit In this report we share our current thinking on what makes reputationsscrutiny is fast moving and intense; there is risk of reputation commitment in navigating the moral maze. Not only in how genuine and credible. We underpin these views with findings from our owndamage to any part of a business, anywhere in the world. A they act but also how well they engage in constructive study, examining in particular the current reputation of the fast movingbad news story that harms a company’s reputation can travel dialogue with governments, non-governmental organisations consumer goods (FMCG) industry and some of the biggest companiesthe globe in minutes. (NGOs), industry partners and pressure groups. The best leading this sector. companies will be those that welcome debate, presentCommunication technology is also helping to unite people information openly and honestly, and take opportunities towith shared interests. It gives pressure groups more influence inform and educate.than ever – whether they are ethical consumers, shareholder Our ambition at Millward Brown is to develop impactive,activists, or local environmental campaigners. And their The result is a complex reputation landscape, crowded by evidence-based results and ReputationAMP is no exception.concerns are many: from rainforest deforestation in the pursuit wide-ranging demands that compete for attention. With the We believe it will prove a sound investment for anyof palm oil, to decent wages for suppliers in developing right insight a company can plan an effective reputation organisation aspiring to maximise its stake in thecountries; from responsibilities for obesity, food labelling and strategy, using empirical evidence that examines and reputation economy. Ed Cokealcohol consumption, to executive pay, food miles and local measures how an industry and its companies are judged, and Executive Directorsourcing and employment policies. the actions that engender the greatest trust. Knowing what Millward Brown Corporate Practice will lead stakeholders and opinion formers to advocacy, and understanding the issues they believe important both today and in the future, are key to mapping reputation priorities.2 3
  2. 2. doing the right things, the quest for trustfor the right reasons,the right way What a company stands for, how it acts and how it ReputationAMP methodology explores how well a company is communicates are all important to stakeholder opinion. They achieving these goals. It examines and measures stakeholder are the foundation stones needed for a company to acquire opinion, breaking down strategy, actions and communication what is perhaps the most prized stakeholder motivator, trust. into specific conducts within and across an organisation. These are analysed individually, with the potential to pinpoint the prevailing views on a continuum of indicators.The issues affecting reputation vary from industry to industry, This detailed approach reveals precisely where a companyjust as the risks weigh more heavily on some companies has a strong or weak reputation. The results signal wherethan others. But what is common to all is a growing appetite Strategy strategy lacks focus or direction, where action is needed tofor more detailed, diagnostic intelligence that can help Plans and objectives develop new behaviour, or why current communication aboutorganisations develop informed, effective strategies for Academics Corporate for the future conduct in a specific area is failing. Trade unionsbuilding and protecting this seemingly intangible asset. & peers & associations partners In this way ReputationAMP can help build a company’s all-The ReputationAMP premise is there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ Doing the For the right round reputational strength. right things reasonssolution to analysing how a company is perceived by others. Suppliers C-suiteThe methodology must reflect the client’s stage of reputation. TRUSTIs the organisation aiming to build, sustain or defend areputation, or is it seeking to recover credibility following a Special interest & Actions Communicationdamaging experience? local community REPUTATION Employees What is done and In the right What is said and way groups how it is done how it is said The companies I trustReputation is fluid, and will shift and change over time. Thereare many influences: current and past behaviour; the varied Policy Existing are the ones where I know makers & & potentialagendas of different stakeholder groups; prevailing social, regulators customers about their responsibleeconomic and political attitudes; whether a business isexperiencing growth, maturity or change; and what area of the NGOs / Investors business strategies. IGOs & analystsbusiness is in question. Trust is essential to reputation. It is achieved when a Media company’s strategy, actions and communication are working inConsequently the ReputationAMP philosophy does not Deputy news editor, unison and the organisation is seen to do the right things, forseek to measure one corporate reputation, but a plurality of Millward Brown Reputation Study, June 2012 the right reasons, in the right way.reputations. Only by taking an holistic view of an organisationcan reputation research present meaningful conclusions andoffer opportunities for change.4 5
  3. 3. AMP powerful methodologyforewarned is forearmed Millward Brown’s corporate practice has carried out its own research study to underline the power and versatility of ReputationAMP.Scoring a top position in a rank What ReputationAMP offers is insight, providing data and Using both qualitative and quantitative research, the team The study focuses on three prime stakeholder groups: choices for action that allow companies to predict and explored the views of opinion formers on the behaviours academia; the media; and NGOs and think tanks. Theof company reputations may plan how to move a reputation forward. Armed with this and reputations of one of the most competitive and dynamic research authors recognise these groups do not comprise afeel good, but a one-number information, senior leaders can make informed decisions industries, the FMCG sector. full stakeholder profile, and any industry or company will havesummary reveals neither the full about future resources and priorities. A company can develop This industry was selected for the ReputationAMP study for a broader, more diverse ‘stakeholder family’. However, as a communication strategies that are confident and forward- practical illustration of the ReputationAMP methodology, thestory nor provides a guide to thinking; ones that anticipate changing environments or several reasons: its global presence; the new and growing results from the three groups provide useful insight into whatfuture action. emerging issues on stakeholder radars. pressures from informed consumers; and the fiercely these opinion formers think of the FMCG industry and competitive nature of the sector, central to the economic a selection of its world-leading companies. recovery of mature markets and growth in emerging ones.6 7
  4. 4. FMCG - Fig.3 Uplift generated by regular contact with stakeholders in perecentage points It’s individual companiesa trusted industry, but less ORG.A ORG.B ORG.C ORG.D I would trust, rather than whole FAMILIARITY +56 +55 +58 +65 industries, as you have good and FAVOURABILITY +51 +30 +18 +49 bad examples in all industries.confidence at company level ADVOCACY +16 +35 +14 +42 Our top-level findings show that, among the three FMCG Senior policy advisor, Millward Brown Reputation Study, June 2012 stakeholder groups studied, opinion formers have little regularThe study shows that the opinion former audiences we surveyed regard the FMCG sector as contact with individual companies. If so, there are significantone of the top two most trusted industries – a distinction most marked among academics. opportunities to cultivate their understanding, engagement and advocacy. They have the potential to speak positivelyHowever, NGO and media opinion formers show noticeably When it comes to confidence in individual FMCG companies, and endorse an organisation’s behaviour, forming a powerfullower levels of trust (Fig.1). As both groups hold a big sway there is a significantly weaker response. All three stakeholder communication bridge between a company and otherover consumer perception and choice, it signals there is work groups show remarkably low confidence that the actions and stakeholders and be done by the FMCG industry as a whole to generate behaviours of companies can help resolve industry issues.greater trust among these audiences. It is notable from the study that academics have the least An underlying reason seems to be a lack of engagement interaction with all four organisations. This implies a potentialFig.1 between FMCG companies and stakeholders. Of four world- gap in knowledge among this influential audience and an“Overall, to what extent would you, from a leading corporations studied in detail, contact with most of opportunity for dialogue.professional perspective, say you trust the the opinion formers questioned is infrequent. Significantfollowing industries?” opportunities therefore exist to grow the support of these audiences, in particular the academic community. Fig.4 Fig.2 Average interaction by audience 43% 42% 30% 27% Frequency of interaction with FMCG companies category average NGOs MEDIA ACADEMICS TECHNOLOGY FMCG PHARMACEUTICALS TELECOMS 17% 16% 4% FREQUENT CONTACT 83% 84% 96% 12% INFREQUENT CONTACT 27% 25% 14% 6% 88% Frequently Infrequently ALCOHOLIC TRANSPORT ENERGY FINANCIAL Yet the benefits of communicating regularly with opinion BEVERAGES SERVICES formers appear evident. Among the minority of stakeholders that experience regular contact with the same major FMCG companies, there are positive impacts on familiarity, favourability and advocacy.8 9
  5. 5. it’s not just what you do,but how you do it and They could blow their own trumpet a lot more, usually withwhat you say... size and success comes a lot of criticism. On issues at the forefront it would be nice to hear the good news…that builds advocacy and wins stakeholder support. Here are the top actions and behaviours that, for the FMCG broadcast more widely. That wouldCultivating a regular, open dialogue with stakeholders industry, are most likely to attract advocacy from the threefosters favourability and an inclination to recommend. It also stakeholder groups questioned. To build and grow their seriously enhance the positiveprovides a bank of goodwill among key audiences, increasing reputations, companies in this sector should focus on these reputation of the company.the likelihood that third party spokespeople will defend a ‘drivers of advocacy’. Communicating about these activities willcompany during difficult times. In short, positive advocacy is a also help cultivate goodwill and support among opinion formers.valuable tool to building a more resilient business. Academic lecturer and researcher, Millward Brown Reputation Study, June 2012But developing a reputation that earns advocacy is not just Fig.5about doing the right thing. Or even doing the right thing Top seven drivers of advocacy percentages indicate strength of relationship between behaviour and advocacyand communicating that activity. A company must hone inon issues that matter to its industry and stakeholder groups, Is responsible towards society 70%prioritising communication so opinion formers hear mostabout the topics that spark their attention and interest. If Is honest, trustworthy and ethical 69%company actions are authentic, the trust and respect of Rather than separate reports,advocates will follow, and as they communicate with others, Deals fairly with their supply chain 65%the positive messages will amplify. social and environmentalReputationAMP helps organisations identify the business Is responsible towards the environment 59% indicators should be integratedpractices and behaviours that correspond with their Provides high-quality 52% into annual reports andstakeholders’ interests and agendas, and are therefore most products & serviceslikely to gain advocacy. fully integrated with Treats employees well 51% business strategy. Builds and maintains positive stakeholder relationships 46% NGO director, Above 30% = significant relationship Above 40% = strong relationship Millward Brown Reputation Study, June 201210 11
  6. 6. earn advocacy, learn where bestmanage vulnerabilities, to invest effortbuild resilienceUnsurprisingly, opinion formers most likely to positively Targeted engagement, focusing on practices and behaviours A reputation pyramid is not new or unique. However, as a With ORG B however, we see the company has aendorse a company’s behaviour are those with whom confirmed by the research as advocacy drivers for the FMCG means of highlighting strengths and weaknesses in how an comparatively high success rate moving stakeholders fromcompanies engage in regular and sustained dialogue. industry, can help companies reap greater reputational benefits. industry or company cultivates stakeholder relationships, it is a engagement to advocacy. Therefore if greater effort is devoted The study also shows how the ReputationAMP methodology valuable tool. It helps diagnose where to target resources and to moving stakeholders from understanding to engagement,All the companies examined as part of the study seem to is an aid to pinpointing reputation pressure points, exposing action for most effective results. it should follow that their current practices will result in morebe failing to gain the maximum advantage from positive company vulnerabilities with the potential to publicly damage than half these engaged opinion formers moving up to theadvocacy. As already revealed, most FMCG stakeholders In the ReputationAMP study few respondents in any of the a company’s profile. This information gives clients the detailed ultimate level of advocacy.questioned say they have little contact with FMCG companies. three stakeholder groups questioned indicated they had a guidance they need to plan how and in what way they respond.Many appear insufficiently informed, so that when asked strong, bonded relationship with FMCG companies. ReputationAMP includes qualitative commentary fromhow well specific FMCG companies performed on each of stakeholders about the style and content of engagement they Fig.7 The study results show that each company has work to dothe seven key advocacy drivers, there was a striking body of welcome. This allows the team to work closely with the client, ORG.A ORG.B ORG.C ORG.D to convert their stakeholders to a higher position within theopinion expressing either a neutral or ‘no opinion’ response. 13 16 15 refining the approach and advocacy topics that will cultivate 27 18 21 29 pyramid. With ReputationAMP modelling it is possible to Deals fairly with their 29 the strongest support.Fig.6 supply chain (%) 58 55 63 56 identify where efforts will secure the best return.Performance on drivers of advocacycategory average For example, in fig.8, ORG A has the fewest stakeholders Fig.8 For example, the stakeholder responses to ORG A and the reaching the advocacy level, signalling a shortfall in how they The journey to advocacye Is responsible towards society 35% advocacy driver statement ‘Deals fairly with the supply chain’ cultivate understanding and engagement among opinion formers. show that just 13 per cent believe the company demonstrates Conversions to bonded advocacy appear particularly weak. ORG.A ORG.B ORG.C ORG.D Is honest, trustworthy and ethical 41% this well. Conversely, 29 per cent believe the company does ADVOCACY 2% 8% 4% 6% Deals fairly with their supply chain 58% not demonstrate fair supply chain dealings and 58 per cent are 25% 53% 40% 39% Depth of relationship neutral or unable to comment. Is responsible towards the environment 45% ENGAGEMENT 8% 15% 10% 16% 22% 31% 29% 47% This signals a need for further investigation. Perhaps supply Provides high-quality products & services 26% chain practices present a real reputation risk, or supply chain UNDERSTANDING 37% 48% 34% 34% Treats employees well 66% actions are acceptable but the messages communicated about 38% 48% 34% 34% Builds and maintains positive them are failing to have the desired impact. The source of poor 51% AWARENESS 97% 100% 100% 100% stakeholder relationships messaging must be traced. Until it is, the company may find it Demonstrates well No opinion Demonstrates poorly advisable to withdraw from communicating further on this subject. Conversion rate of stakeholders from tier below12 13
  7. 7. sustainability the future of reputationgoes beyond The ReputationAMP study shows opinion formers respond best when they sense a company is genuine and consistent. They favour companies that are proactive inthe environment... sharing good news, yet equally frank and open about missed targets, operational failures, and tough but pragmatic decision-making. Consumers too are growing more ethically aware and exchanging information speedily through social networks. LikeThe ReputationAMP research study reveals a strong view other stakeholder groups, their antennae for claims withoutamong opinion formers that corporate citizenship for FMCG substance grow more sensitive, aided by each new revolutioncompanies involves taking ownership of, and responsibility in information and communication technology.for, all aspects of the sustainability agenda that connect with Indeed, the increasing popularity and use of social networkstheir business. means that simply telling the story is no longer sufficient. GOVERNMENT & POLICY MAKERS Audiences want dialogue and the means to discuss, exchangeThe right behaviours need to touch every part of a company’s operation and management. ideas, and contribute comment. This presents an opportunityPlanned carefully and with thought, these are an asset to building and protecting market share. for an organisation, or an industry working together, to graspResponses from opinion formers in the study show they are increasingly sensitive and sceptical about SPECIAL the main social issues in which their businesses play a key INTERESTclaims without substance, and can distinguish quickly between superficial ‘green-washing’ and those GROUPS part, and take ownership through education.companies that are building reputations based on a broader, ethical agenda with real commitment. This is not to say the burden falls on companies alone.From our discussions with stakeholders, the measures of a truly sustainable business now include: Sustainability agendas are broad, with many interconnecting INDUSTRYinclude: players. There are interdependencies between companies, industry, governments, NGOs and customers. Each must• sensitivities to exploiting new markets; recognise their mutual concerns, and the shared roles and CUSTOMERS• responsible sourcing, including manufacturing and supply chain management; responsibilities they have to make a new behaviour or policy• passing on efficiencies to customers; effective. They must also acknowledge that each party works under different commercial and social pressures.• equitable employment terms throughout the company and in all geographies;• fair treatment across communities. Stakeholder comment in the study indicates that collaborative effort is increasingly part of modern responsibility, and a crucial part of building a respected reputation in the 21st century.14 15
  8. 8. expertise that advances Millward Brown continues to push the boundaries of market research and brand consultingreputation researchMillward Brown is a leading global research agency with 82 offices in more than 50countries. Renowned for rigorous methodology, the company draws on more than35 years’ experience and works with 90 per cent of the top 100 global brands.Reputation Asset Manager and Profiler – ReputationAMP – Whether honing in on selected stakeholder groups orbuilds on Millward Brown’s unrivalled aptitude for brand and carrying out a comprehensive investigation across all opinioncommunication research. Our corporate practice expands formers, the methodology results in a detailed understandingon this expertise, offering a tailor-made, evidence-based of an organisation’s profile as seen by others. It providesreputation methodology specifically designed to every client’s perspective on what the prevailing reputation issues are todayparticular needs. It can adapt to any industry or sector, and to and in the future.any company or organisation. The results help companies understand, shape and sustainReputationAMP does not simply lift up a looking glass and their reputation. And because an organisation needsoffer a reflection of a company’s present reputation. Probing reputation strategies to suit different stages of its development,for deeper insight, consultants apply critical thinking to unmask the methodology can adapt to any point in the evolution of athe real meaning behind the data. They examine what’s driving business, from first growth through to maturity and change.the opinions of stakeholders, the stimuli that produce positive ReputationAMP goes beyond generating intelligence, itadvocacy, and the opportunities to shift neutral opinion or provides choices for action and answers to specific reputationconvert antipathy. challenges, including: For more information about ReputationAMP please contact:Working worldwide, Millward Brown’s corporate consultants • diagnosing and defining reputation objectives;do more than measure the current climate of opinion; they Ed Cokeengage with the people whose views create and influence it. • benchmarking against competitors; Executive Director, Millward Brown Corporate PracticeReputationAMP solicits only the most influential stakeholders, Millward Brown • monitoring for change, opportunity and vulnerability; 24-28 Bloomsbury Wayeach an expert in their own field. These are as likely to be Londondrawn from corporate boardrooms as local communities, or • assessing future reputation risks and priorities; WC1A 2PXfrom supply chain companies and employees, as investment t: +44 (0) 207126 5248 • planning reputation recovery strategies. m: +44 (0) 7710 043151houses and media commentators. 17
  9. 9. About the FMCG studyThe Millward Brown ReputationAMP study of the FMCG industry draws on the results of both qualitative and quantitative researchconducted during May and June 2012.The qualitative element comprised 10 one-hour in-depth interviews evaluating the reputational status of current FMCG organisations withinthe context of prevalent industry debates and issues.A total of 105 quantitative telephone interviews were also conducted, focusing on world-leading FMCG organisations, measuring keymetrics including awareness, confidence, proximity, familiarity, engagement and advocacy. Of the respondents: 35 were editors or seniorcorrespondents at global or UK business publications, including daily newspapers, specialist press or websites; 35 were professors ordepartment heads at academic institutes, with specific interest in business, the environment or sustainability; and 35 were directors orinfluential thought leaders within intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), NGOs, or think tanks.For reasons of commercial sensitivity, organisation identities are not revealed. However, the four FMCG companies in this study are all inthe top 200 of the Fortune Global 500 annual ranking of the world’s largest corporations.18