Measuring Corporate Reputation in Belgium

Results of the Belgium 2011 RepTrak™ study


Taking reputation management in Belgium one step further A word of welcome from the Reputation Institute About akkanto The RepTrak™ Method The Belgium 2011 RepTrak™ study Results of the Belgium 2011 RepTrak™ study Corporate leaders on Reputation Dimensions in 2011 Industry Reputation The Global Pulse 2011 Welcome to the Reputation Economy Reputation: a fragile but determining factor Reputation and Corporate Social Responsibility Reputation Institute around the World 15th International Conference akkanto

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Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Taking reputation management in Belgium one step further
Thierry Bouckaert
partner and Managing direCtor, akkanto

akkanto’s baseline says it all: we are here to add value to our clients’ stakeholder relations. to do so, it is essential to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of how these stakeholders regard the company or organisation in question. indeed, society’s ever increasing demands of transparency, fuelled by technological developments in communications and the impact of the so-called social media, put more pressure than ever on organisations to manage their reputation effectively and thus, proactively. as a result, companies are looking to redefine their strategies to (re)build and maintain the trust of their stakeholders, as this is crucial in achieving their business objectives or even in keeping their license to operate. at akkanto, we strive to be a leader in innovation, creativity, effectiveness and quality. Hence, we believe “communications” should be based on measurability. that is why we wanted to take reputation management in Belgium one step further, by becoming the official Belgian associate of the reputation institute, the world’s leading reputation consulting firm devoted to advancing knowledge about corporate reputations. i am convinced that this association provides akkanto with an even more solid basis in strategically counselling our clients. the immediate tangible result of our partnership is this very first study of 30 leading companies in Belgium, measuring their reputation with the reputation institute’s well-established reptrak™ method – and which we are proud to present to you today. Finally, i’d like to thank all who worked very hard to make this possible at akkanto and the reputation institute, as well as roularta Media group for their support and hospitality.

Brussels, 27 april 2011


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

A word of welcome from the Reputation Institute
Cees B.M. van Riel
ViCe-CHairMan and Co-Founder, reputation institute

i am very pleased to welcome akkanto as an associate of the globally operating reputation institute. From this year onwards, akkanto will be the institute’s partner for research and advice in the field of reputation management for companies and organisations operating in Belgium. in the netherlands, we have been measuring the reputation of the largest dutch companies since 2001, using the standardised reptrak™ methodology. i am looking forward to comparing the results for the first reptrak™ study for Belgium with the dutch 2011 scores. Based on our experience in the netherlands and around the world, my suggestion to Belgian companies is to take the following lessons into account when assessing the outcomes of their 2011 reptrak™ measurement. (1) reputation management demands having the intelligence to enable a firm to assess how stakeholders rate their company compared to rivals. (2) this assessment is not only relevant at the overall level, it is even more important to understand the drivers of reputation and the impact of these drivers on behavioural intents. (3) reputations are ‘sticky’; robust reputations are not destroyed easily and seem to gain from the adage ‘the winner takes all’. (4) reputations may be strong in an organisation’s country of origin, but this does not mean it is equally strong outside the home country. (5) reputations are embedded in the context of their industry bandwidth. this implies that companies have to set a reputation goal in that context. if you are a telecom firm, reaching out for reptrak™ score above 80 seems to be unrealistic. a food company on the contrary should take this goal as its ambition. i sincerely hope that the results of this survey will support companies in Belgium in managing their reputations more effectively. Congratulations to all!

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


About akkanto

since its foundation in 1995 as european Communication strategies (Cs), akkanto has succeeded in becoming the reference agency in the Belgian market for strategic communication advice, with proven added value for its clients. over and over again, akkanto has demonstrated its ability to respond to and to anticipate its clients’ needs, in Belgium, other european countries, africa and other selected markets, fast and effectively. akkanto takes an integrated approach, putting its clients’ stakeholders at the core of all strategic communication activities, whether these are employees, political decision makers, opinion leaders, consumers and citizens, the financial community or the media. For each specific stakeholder group, akkanto has an established experience with applying a vast set of methodologies to meet the clients’ specific needs. additionally, akkanto develops sophisticated tools to measure the effectiveness throughout and after each communication program. these tools have now been expanded to include the measurement methodologies that are available through akkanto’s recent partnership with the reputation institute. Finally, akkanto has a remarkable track record in crisis preparedness and communicating during crisis situations which potentially have the highest immediate impact on a company’s reputation. through its comprehensive communication approach, akkanto offers its clients a full set of services to respond to the growing demand from its stakeholders for honesty and transparency, the foundations in building and maintaining a positive reputation.


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

The RepTrak Method

the reputation institute created the reptrak™ method to provide companies with a standardised framework for enabling the identification of factors that drive reputations and for benchmarking their corporate reputations internationally. reptrak™ is the world’s first standardised and integrated tool for tracking corporate reputations globally across stakeholder groups. the reptrak™ Model is a tool that tracks 23 key performance indicators grouped around 7 reputation dimensions that research has proven to be effective in getting stakeholders to support the company. the beating heart of the reptrak™ Model is the pulse. the reptrak™ pulse measures the health of a company’s overall reputation with consumers. the reptrak™ pulse score is based on four statements: the esteem, good feeling, trust, and admiration that consumers feel towards a company.

establishing a good reputation is not a goal in itself; the ultimate goal is getting stakeholders to support the company. supportive behaviours can be shown in various areas, such as the willingness to purchase products from a company or to invest in company stock.

bpost is more than a name, it’s a promise and a challenge. We went through deep changes in the past decade, adapting ourselves to new technological and market evolutions. We will further work on our capacity to fully satisfy all customers and to gain their complete trust.”

JoHnny tHiJs Ceo oF Bpost

Products & Services Innovation Workplace


Purchase Recommend



Governance Citizenship Leadership Performance


Crisis proof Verbal support Invest Work

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


The RepTrak Method

Internationally standardised and comparable reputation scores
in some countries, people are universally more positive in their responses than in other countries. the distribution of scores in that country may also be more ‘spread out’ than in another because people have more information and are able to make more subtle differences between companies. to overcome these sources of systematic bias, reputation institute’s policy is to adjust all reptrak™ scores by standardising them against the aggregate distribution of all scores obtained from the reputation institute’s annual global reptrak™ pulse. standardisation has the effect of lowering scores in countries that tend to

overrate companies, and has the effect of raising scores for companies in countries that tend to rate companies more negatively. due to this procedure, all reptrak™ reputation scores are comparable across industries, countries, and over time.

The global distribution of reputations
the global mean is 64.2 and the largest concentration of companies has a reptrak™ pulse between 60.0 and 70.0. Based on the global distribution of scores, reputation institute proposes the following benchmarks for benchmarking standardised corporate reputation results internationally





The reputation of a company is intimately linked to its values. Good reputation is not a goal, it is the result of how values are actually brought to life and foster a culture where men and women of integrity do the right thing, making sound business decisions regardless of the circumstances and even when no one is looking over their shoulder.”

# of Companies


pierre-oliVier BeCkers president and CHieF exeCutiVe oFFiCer delHaize





Maintain (≥70) improve (60-90) immediate action (<60)


Global RepTrak Pulse


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

The Belgium 2011 RepTrak study

Companies rated
For the first edition of the reptrak™ study in Belgium, it was decided to measure the reputation of 30 leading companies. the first criterion for the selection was that the companies should have a predominantly Belgian ownership or have a significant Belgian history. in the second stage, companies were ranked based on the Bel20 index, revenue, profit and number of employees. this was followed by an awareness test, in which the reputation institute determined whether the selected companies are sufficiently familiar to the general public in Belgium so that the reptrak™ methodology is validly applicable to them.

Regional Divisions
Wallonia Brussels Flanders



Finally, akkanto, in collaboration with trends and trends tendances, determined the definitive list of 30 companies to be measured by the reputation institute. 12,148 respondents were surveyed during the first quarter of 2011. respondents had to be familiar with the companies they were rating and were allowed to rate up to two companies. the surveys were conducted online. the data is weighted to obtain representative samples for Belgium based on age, gender, geographical spread and levels of education and income.

Profile of respondents
18-24 50,9 49,1 45,4 54,6 49,6 50,4 53,6 46,4 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

25-34 Age



Trust and reputation are essential for all successful businesses. In the financial sector they are even more crucial. Monitoring our reputation and assuring trust are key factors for BNP Paribas Fortis.”

Male % within age

Female % within age

Max Jadot Ceo oF Bnp pariBas Fortis (BelgiuM)

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Results of the Belgium 2011 RepTrak™ study

RepTrak™ Pulse Results
Colruyt Neuhaus Delhaize Bekaert Spadel Janssen Pharmaceutica D’Ieteren Mestdagh Solvay Omega Pharma Brussels Airlines UCB Alken Maes Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale Umicore KBC ING AB InBev Dexia Telenet Carrefour BNP Paribas Fortis Tessenderlo Group VOO Mobistar bpost SPE Luminus Belgacom Electrabel SNCB/NMBS

84.6 78.7 76.3 73.4 72.6 71.0 70.6 69.1 68.6 68.5 68.1 67.1 64.9 64.8 63.5 62.6 62.6 62.4 62.4 61.7 61.6 60.7 59.3 57.2 56.9 55.9 54.7 54.5 53.0 43.8 0 20 40 60 80

the 2011 overall reputation leader in Belgium is Colruyt with a reptrak™ pulse of 84.6. neuhaus takes the second place with a pulse score of 78.7, followed by delhaize with a score of 76.3. reputation scores above 70 are hard to achieve. 24% of the companies rated in the survey have managed to accomplish this achievement. in comparison, 30% of the companies rated in the netherlands 2011 reptrak™ scored above 70. throughout the ten year history of the reptrak™ study, very few companies have achieved a score of over 80. this year, Colruyt joins the group of elite companies to achieve such a feat.

At Colruyt Group, we are convinced that a good reputation results from persistently doing business in a sustainable way. Reputation 100 grows gradually, but can be severely damaged in a very short time. Therefore, maintaining a good reputation is the daily responsibility of every single team member. The fact that we have succeeded in building a good reputation is thanks to each of the more than 20,000 employees, and to all those who have worked hard in the past to make Colruyt Group into what it is today.”

JeF Colruyt CHairMan oF Colruyt group


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

Corporate leaders on Reputation Dimensions in 2011

a reputation is built on 7 pillars from which a company can create a strategic platform for communicating with its stakeholders. reputation institute measured not only perceptions of companies on the 4 pulse attributes (esteem, good feeling, trust, and admiration), but also asked respondents to rate the companies on the 7 key dimensions. Colruyt, with the top overall reputation score, has also ranked the highest on all 7 dimensions. this clearly shows the strength of Colruyt’s reputation platform. the top 3 overall companies, Colruyt, neuhaus and delhaize, each make the top 5 for at least 5 of the 7 dimensions. notably, both Colruyt and neuhaus are present in the top 5 for all 7 dimensions.

overall, the most influential dimensions in Belgium are “products and services” and “leadership”, driving 21.5% and 17.0% of the companies’ reputations respectively. if consumers perceive companies as being strong on these dimensions, their perception and support will improve. if companies do not perform well in these areas, perception and support are likely to suffer. Finally, looking at the regional scores of this first reptrak™ study for Belgium, we have noted that for an individual company the result can clearly vary between Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia, in function of the company’s corporate history and regional presence.

Products & Services 1 Colruyt 2 Neuhaus 3 Bekaert 4 Spadel 5 Delhaize Citizenship 1 Colruyt 2 Spadel 3 Delhaize

Innovation 1 Colruyt 2 Janssen Pharmaceutica 3 Bekaert 4 Neuhaus 5 Solvay Leadership 1 Colruyt 2 Bekaert 3 Neuhaus

Performance 1 Colruyt 2 AB InBev 3 Neuhaus 4 Bekaert 5 Delhaize Workplace 1 Colruyt 2 Neuhaus

Governance 1 Colruyt 2 Neuhaus 3 Spadel 4 Delhaize 5 Bekaert

3 Janssen Pharmaceutica 4 Delhaize 5 Bekaert

4 Janssen Pharmaceutica 5 Neuhaus

4 Janssen Pharmaceutica 5 Solvay

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Industry Reputation

Industry Reputation dictates Firm Reputation
industry reputation can directly impact the general reputation of individual corporations. experience over the past years has shown that a company’s reputation can be directly influenced by the industry it is in. this relationship is even more apparent with companies that do not directly engage with the general public. all companies operate in an industry context – and either suffer or benefit from the positive or negative halo around their industry. in the last five years, the Consumer product industry has repeatedly ranked as the highest global industry reputation. additionally, the general public reports a high level of trust in the companies in the Food Manufacturing, retailFood and industrial products industry. in contrast, the telecommunications, transport and logistics, utilities and tobacco industry have generally had weak industry reputation, scoring within the lowest bandwidth. this negative context makes it challenging for individual companies to create favourable regards. Moreover, following the financial crisis, the reputation of the Finance industry has been slowly declining. When looking at the distribution of the Belgian company’s scores, we can see that this is in line with the global trend.

The ultimate aim of a company is to ensure the continued, long-term support of its stakeholders. Like many of our peers, KBC was impacted by the severe financial and economic crisis of the past few years. We are currently implementing a far-reaching strategic plan, an unprecedented, large-scale change process of which the primary objective is precisely to restore stakeholder confidence in KBC. The measurement of our reputation provides us with the necessary compass to guide us in this effort. It is in the best interest of our customers, staff, shareholders and all our other stakeholders that we stay on track, as I am well aware that a good reputation must be constantly and carefully nurtured and managed and, moreover, should never be taken for granted.”

Jan VanHeVel Ceo oF kBC group


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

The Global Pulse 2011

Measuring the reputations of the world’s largest companies
the global reptrak pulse 2011 is the annual study of the reputations of the world’s largest companies. the study was developed by the reputation institute to provide executives with a high-level overview of their company’s reputation with consumers. online interviews or face-toface interviews with consumers were conducted in January and February 2011. More than 250,000 ratings were used to create reliable measures of the ‘corporate reputation’ of over 2,500+ companies from around the world.

Companies rated
the global reptrak™ pulse 2011 measures the reputations of the largest corporations in each country based on their ‘total revenues’. rated companies had to have significant consumer presence and be sufficiently familiar to the general public. all companies are measured in their home country only.

Survey methodology
the global pulse 2011 was conducted online in all countries. the pulse is calculated by sampling at least 100 local respondents a month, who are “somewhat” and “very” familiar with the company. the global reptrak™ 2011 questionnaire is a 10 minute long survey that invites respondents to describe their perceptions of companies. the reputation institute uses online surveys since they are more diverse than traditional samples in many domains (e.g. gender, geographic location and socioeconomic status).

in 2011 the global reptrak™ pulse study is conducted in 41 countries. • Europe: austria, Belgium, denmark, Finland, France, germany, greece, Hungary, ireland, italy, netherlands, norway, poland, portugal, russia, spain, sweden, switzerland, turkey, united kingdom • Asia Pacific: australia, China, india, Japan, Malaysia, singapore, south korea, taiwan, thailand, and new zealand • North America: united states, Canada, and puerto rico • Latin/South America: argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, peru Africa: south africa

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Welcome to the Reputation Economy
Nicolas Georges Trad
Managing partner, reputation institute gloBal

2011 is the dawn of a new era, the birth of a Reputation Economy—a place where perceptions are reality, in which reputation dynamics drive value formation and result in value destruction. in order to succeed in such an environment, companies must learn to survive in the complex web of relationships they populate and recognise the increasing importance that stakeholder perceptions have on a company’s prospects for development. in today’s world, visibility creates opportunity and reputation builds trust. More than any time in history, stakeholders care about the behaviour of the organisations behind the products and services they buy or the shares they invest in. Companies, in turn, have become increasingly aware that corporate ethics have wide reaching implications beyond their everyday business activities. the demand for more understanding about company actions has increased. the availability of information has necessitated companies to be more open and transparent than ever before. the reputation economy offers countless opportunities for companies who wish not only to endure but flourish in a world where who you are has become equally important as what you provide. Corporate reputation has already shifted into becoming a pivotal factor in the current landscape. Companies who are quickly able to mobilise who they are and what they stand for will lead their domain for years to come. there is a mounting need for senior management to recognise and act on this, so as to ensure that their companies come out as the frontrunners of the reputation economy. in a multi stakeholder realm the ‘license to operate’ is not just about regulations or shareholders proxy votes, but a solid history of credibility and trust. the rise of social media has allowed stakeholders to share their experiences, express their sentiments and wield their influence to a broader audience at lightning speed. reputation is both an input and an outcome; it is an outside in perspective that reputation can contribute to both building enterprise value or to enterprise destruction and is the result of investments and efforts by organisations to influence investors, creditors, customers, employees and, ultimately, market value.


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

Reputation: a fragile but determining factor
Rik De Nolf
Ceo, roularta Media group

in just fifty years roularta Media group has grown from a local publisher into an international multimedia group. as a multimedia company, we set out to create value for our readers, viewers, listeners, visitors of our websites, advertising customers, employees and shareholders. roularta Media group is constantly looking for opportunities with new titles, marketing initiatives and new media to strengthen its position in Belgium and abroad. through my personal experience and years in business, i have seen how “reputation” has become, more than ever, a fragile but determining factor in one’s success. as a company, roularta Media group attributes an equal amount of importance to productivity, quality, prevention and durability for its organisation. it holds attention for the welfare of its surroundings, thanks to a sustainable and social policy. We therefore value the importance of measuring the feeling, esteem, admiration, and trust of one’s stakeholders, so as to better manage them. that is why we are very happy to have partnered with akkanto, one of the leading communication consultancies in Belgium, to support the publication of this first ever reptrak™ measurement of 30 leading companies in Belgium.

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Reputation and Corporate Social Responsibility

From the numerous reputation institute’s reptrak™ pulse studies around the world, we know that the main predictor of a company’s reputation remains its “products and services”. even so, Corporate social responsibility (Csr) has shot to the top of the business and public agenda. the combined influence of “Citizenship”, “governance” and “Workplace” esteem predicts approximately 40% of a company’s overall reputation. But not only the company’s reputation will benefit from being seen as more socially responsible – people also tend to show more supportive behaviours towards socially responsible companies, thereby helping the “bottom line” of the company. in this light it is no surprise that more and more companies are seeking ways to embrace their corporate social responsibility.

also quite interested in corporate ethics and transparency (“governance” is a significant risk factor) and more of them are honing in on socialand-environmental performance for the same reasons (“citizenship” is also a risk factor and a proxy for how well a firm is managed). the media and regulators, by comparison, might want to focus on products and services and also on citizenship, governance and workplace factors, as these mirror the public’s prime interests and their regulatory scope respectively. stakeholder consultation is core to determining what’s most relevant to corporate constituents and to deciding what to invest in, how much, and where. reputation institute has collected data from the general public and specific stakeholder groups in dozens of countries to inform stakeholder engagement at every step along the way.

Reputation and Stakeholder Engagement
decisions about priorities and needed actions in any Csr strategy depend first and foremost on identifying and establishing a relationship with all the parties that have a “stake” in the business. this includes investors, customers, and employees, to be sure, but also community leaders, government officials, ngos, the media and opinion leaders. studies show that investors, obviously, are most concerned with financial performance, and certainly how products and services and innovations might affect corporate growth and return on capital. these reputational dimensions would naturally be part of a firm’s engagement with them. at the same time, investors are

Using CSR to Drive Improvements in Reputation
Analyse and Improve Measure how your activities are increasing support

1 7

Identify you key stakeholders

Communicate with stakeholders and the public


Engage with stakeholders on what is relevant to them; Understand what they want from you and the industry

Take strategic actions to ‘close the gap’

5 4

Identify how your company visions and values can play together with what the stakeholders want

Identify gaps between what you are doing, communicating and what creates stakeholder support
source: Building reputation here, there and everywhere: Worldwide views on local impact of corporate responsibility. reputation institute and Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 2009.


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

Reputation Institute around the world

RI Offices
Brazil – Chile – China – denmark – netherlands – south africa – spain – united states

RI Associates
australia – Belgium – Bolivia – Canada – Colombia – Finland – France – germany – greece india – ireland – italy – Japan – Malaysia – norway – peru – portugal – russia – sweden switzerland – turkey – ukraine - united arab emirates – united kingdom

Reputations are like magnets. They attract customers and investors, and repel regulators and activists. That means money in the bank for better-regarded companies, and much suffering for the shareholders of poorly-regarded companies.”

CHarles FoMBrun CHairMan oF tHe reputation institute

Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM


Navigating the Reputation Economy
reputation institute is pleased to announce its 15th international Conference on Corporate reputation, Brand, identity and Competitiveness will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA) at the roosevelt new orleans this May 18 - 20, 2011.

reputation economy will look like and help them build strategies to succeed in a transformed global playing field and gain ground against competitors through: in 25 breakout sessions and eight plenary sessions, participants will be discussing how to harness the power of corporate reputation to drive decisions in the reputation economy. Topics include: • Strategy—building more effective reputation, corporate brand and corporate communications strategies • Employee Alignment—aligning employees with the Ceo’s business strategy • Corporate Responsibility—applying cutting-edge thinking to integrate responsibility strategy • Ethics and Governance—driving change organization-wide and dealing with government intervention • Shareholder Value—developing ways to engage investors beyond quarterly earnings Confirmed speakers include: dan Hesse, Chief executive officer, sprint sally susman, executive Vice president, policy, external affairs and Communications, pfizer inc Mike perlis, Ceo and president, Forbes Media Joan Walker, senior Vice president, Corporate relations, allstate insurance Company Blair Christie, senior Vice president & Chief Marketing officer, Cisco ray Jordan, Corporate Vice president, public affairs and Corporate Communications, Johnson & Johnson neil golden, Chief Marketing officer, Mcdonald’s usa gerard k. Meuchner, director, Communications & public affairs and Vice president, eastman kodak Company nancy lintner, senior Vice president, strategic Communications, pepsiCo

Objective and Theme
Welcome to the Reputation Economy—a world in which perceptions are reality, in which reputation dynamics drive value creation and value destruction. to succeed in this environment, organisations must learn to navigate the complex web of relationships they inhabit and recognise the growing importance that stakeholder perceptions have on a company’s prospects for long-term growth.

Topics and Issues
drawing on its expertise as the foremost international organisation devoted to advancing knowledge about corporate reputations, reputation institute and an extensive lineup of thought leaders and practitioners from the corporate and academic worlds will provide executives with insights into what the

Today, we serve two and only two masters: revenue and reputation. The trick is to position your brand and build your reputation in the sweet spot between capitalism and humanism.”

Morten alBaek sVp oF Marketing and CustoMer insigHt, Vestas (denMark); addressing tHe reputation institute’s 2010 annual ConFerenCe in rio


Measuring Corporate reputation in BelgiuM

akkanto contact details

Chaussée de la Hulpe 189 B 1170 Brussels Belgium tel: +32 (0) 2 610 10 10 Fax: +32 (0) 2 610 10 20

Thierry Bouckaert
partner / Managing direCtor

Johan Ral

Walter Gelens

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