In past blogs, I have talked repeatedly about the value of having and protecting a strong brand—if for no other reason than keeping your product from slipping into commodity status. While most people would agree that intuitively it makes sense that having a strong brand would lead to more sales, not much data has been around for us data junkies to prove it. Well, I am happy to say that one company, the Reputation Institute went out and did just that…attempt to prove the link between a strong/excellent brand and revenue.
Here are some of the highlights of the findings from the Global Reputation Pulse 2010 research:
- Strong reputations have a direct link to link to the bottom line in the form of increased:
- Recommendations/verbal support
- Purchase consideration
- According to The Reputation Pulse Study, excellent reputations are built across the following seven dimensions:
Here are some additional highlights from the 2010 study:
- Ten companies (Chubb, McDonald’s, Archer Daniels Midland, SunTrust Banks, ExxonMobil, AutoNation, Humana, Marathon Oil, CITGO and Staples) increased their reputation scores by seven points or more from 2009.
- U.S. consumers feel the most respected and reputable industries, as measured by the reputations of the biggest companies are: 1) Food Manufacturing, 2) Consumer Products, 3) Transportation & Logistics, 3) Computers, 4) Industrial Products, and 5) General Retail.
- With mergers, bankruptcies and bail-outs, financial industries suffered the most with the greatest negative individual company changes in reputation.
- Interestingly, utilities and communications companies improved as a whole.
- While the drivers of excellent reputations differs by industry, country and stakeholder group, the study found that for U.S. companies, Products/Services was the most influential brand dimension; followed by Governance and Citizenship.
So you must be wondering which brand achieved the best brand reputation score overall….drum roll please…it was Johnson & Johnson—for the second year in a row. Kraft Foods, Kellogg, The Walt Disney Company, PepsiCo, and Sara Lee rounded out the top tier of U.S. companies in 2010, all with excellent reputation.
Achieving and protecting a strong brand is critically important. Even if you don’t see the direct link between brand excellence/strength and sales, you can certainly make the connection of having a strong brand elevating your product above commodity status (even if you are producing what some would argue is a commodity product—think Band-Aid or Jell-O). Make sure you and your employees are charged up with protecting your brand! Perhaps The Reputation Institute will be measuring your brand some day!
For those of you that want more information about the study I reference above, the following describes how the study was conducted. The Global Reputation Pulse 2010 was conducted online in January and February 2010. A Pulse score is a measure of corporate reputation calculated by averaging perceptions of four indicators — trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling — obtained from a representative sample of at least 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company. Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100, Pulse scores that differ by more than +/-0.5 are significantly different at the 95% confidence level. The U.S. mean for all 150 companies included in the study was 67.38. Top line reports on the 2010 Global Reputation Pulse findings can be downloaded at www.ReputationInstitute.com.