Corporate Reputation and Advocacy

A lot of reputation building within the organisation is directed at specific stakeholders: regulators, media, government, community partners, business partners, customers, investors, and other influencers. Public image matters too and is considered important as a groundswell of negativity or expected negativity will drive MPs, regulators, and the media to act in ways which can impact a company’s social license to operate, such as what is happening to Crown Resorts in relation to the Barangaroo casino.

Two distinct corporate image profiles

Our research shows that there are two distinct company profiles that are typical of successful large corporates with the public.

Profile Type A: Cold and Competent:

The public sees your organisation as competent at what it does, well known and big.

Profile Type B: Warm and Aspirational:

The pubic sees your organisation as a leader in its field, more innovative, and likely more socially responsible.

The warm and aspirational profile engenders higher respect, admiration as well as higher propensities to advocate and hence the greater probability of a higher NPS® (Net Promoter Score). Trust is sometimes not the differentiator as both corporate image profiles have been found by Inside Story to be equally based on moderate levels of trust.

The underlying drivers of a warmer and more aspiration profile are usually consistent and visible behaviours over a significant span of time that reinforce impressions across a range of activities. In the case of Crown Resorts, there looks to have been a pattern of failure to live up to community expectations and denials of responsibility, making it hard to build confidence in remedial actions such as on-site monitoring of the Barangaroo casino.

Reputation monitoring may sometimes be little more than a beauty contest ranking conducted for vanity. The best approach is to support quantitative research with a range of relevant diagnostic metrics and sensitive qualitative interviews to identify the behavioural and event drivers of reputation. This is the best way to drive relevant actions to nurture reputation and ultimately increase stakeholder support and drive advocacy.

The above findings are based on research conducted by Inside Story Research and Knowledge Management. For over 20 years, Inside Story has been tracking the trust and reputation associated hundreds of Australian organisations as well as the quality of their relationships.