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The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust

The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust

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Published by Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick’s latest study illustrates the challenging consumer landscape facing today’s marketing and communications executives. The research identifies six key insights revealing a world where consumers no longer just buy products based on their own merits but also shop by company reputation.
Weber Shandwick’s latest study illustrates the challenging consumer landscape facing today’s marketing and communications executives. The research identifies six key insights revealing a world where consumers no longer just buy products based on their own merits but also shop by company reputation.

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Published by: Weber Shandwick on Jan 18, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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RETHINKINGCORPORATEREPUTATION
Monumental shits in the reputation landscape today are transorminghow and what companies communicate. Radical changes caused by theInternet, globalization, NGOs/third parties, diminishing returns on traditionalmedia, a more demanding general public and increasing social activismhave created a new dynamic where the company behind the brand isbecoming as or more important than individual brands themselves.As consumers around the world have greater online access to a brand’slineage, the inuence o the brand “parent” or company behind thebrand matters even more. In this uncertain climate, consumers expectmore rom leading companies and have no trouble boycotting thosethat ail to live up to new standards. At the same time, leaders need toknow how to do business in an environment where consumers are not just purchasing their products or services on their own merits, but arealso shopping by company reputation. The mounting convergence obrand and corporate reputation revealed in our study ushers in a newera o marketing communications.As thought leaders in the reputation feld, global public relations frmWeber Shandwick and its research arm, KRC Research, conductedan online survey among both consumers and executives to answer therequently-raised question rom corporate ofcers about how brand andreputation are evolving in this new see-thru, nowhere to hide world. Theresearch aims to help marketing and communications executives adjustto what we oresee as a tectonic shit in communicating the voice o the“enterprise” to key stakeholders.The research was conducted in October and November 2011 among1,375 consumers (ages 18+) and 575 senior executives in companieswith revenue o $500 million or more. Respondents were located inour key markets: two developed markets (the U.S. and U.K.) and twoemerging markets (China and Brazil).Among the more eye-opening observations arising out o this researchcame rom the voices o consumers and executives surveyed. We askedboth groups why the company behind the brand mattered, i at all,
“Peopleliketoassociatethemselveswithaproduct,andifthestandardsofacompanyfallbelowthatthenpeoplearelesslikelytoassociatethemselveswiththatproductorcompany.”
— U.K. Consumer
RETHINKING CORPORATE REPUTATION
 
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on an open-ended basis. Respondents were inormed they could skipthe question. To our surprise, the vast majority (86%) o respondentsvolunteered responses with such clarity, intensity and insight thatwe could not help but conclude that this study was not just anotherresearch investigation to add to an already large body o knowledge onreputation, but a new proposition or unlocking the value o brand andreputation communications.Our study identifed Six New Realities o Corporate Reputation. Eachreality serves as a reminder to business leaders that they cannot viewtheir company’s reputation and their product brands as separately asthey once did. Aligning and integrating both optimizes their respectivestrengths to achieve strong business results.A game-change in brandingand corporate reputation iswell underway. In this ast-moving inormation age,consumers can now readilyconnect the dots betweenthe brand they buy andthe company behind thebrand. Whereas it has longbeen known that a strongbrand shines a light on acompany’s reputation, it isnow clear beyond a shadowo a doubt that a strongcompany reputation addsan undeniable brilliance tothe brand.”— Leslie Gaines-Ross,
Chief Reputation Strategist,
 Weber Shandwick 
Corporate brand is as important as the product brand(s)Corporate reputation provides product quality assuranceAny disconnect between corporate and product reputationtriggers sharp consumer reactionProducts drive discussion, with reputation close behindConsumers shape reputation instantlyCorporate reputation contributes to company market value
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These Six New Realities o Corporate Reputation are discussed in greaterdepth in the ollowing report. For the purposes o this study, we distinguishbetween the “corporate brand,” i.e., the parent company that producesproducts or services, and the “product brand” or “brand,” the individualbrand name(s) under which the product or service is sold. For example,Procter & Gamble is the parent company or corporate brand while abriccare Tide is the product brand. Similarly, Unilever is the parent companyor corporate brand while Dove soap is the product brand.This is a frst in a series on
The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust 
. Additional reports will be issued in 2012 thatprovide insights on the contribution o CEO reputation and single- vs.multi-brand companies.
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RETHINKING CORPORATE REPUTATION

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