CYBERTORIAL* It’s that time of the year again when company reputations are measured against each other in the Top Companies Reputation Index (TCRI). An initiative of Plus 94 Research and the Mail & Guardian, TCRI, now in its seventh year, is the largest corporate reputation study conducted annually in South Africa. Accompanying it is an awards evening to recognise brands that have excelled in terms of their reputation, not only in their category but also within South Africa as a whole.
What’s new this year?
Like last year’s research the top 50 companies based on advertising spend are included, but the number of companies covered this year has risen to 200, from 167 last year.
“By looking at the aggregate rating of all the companies it is, in a way, a fairly representative score of South African businesses as opposed to a study that only has 20 or 30 or 50 main companies”. The research methodology has not changed with a national probability sample of 2 600 respondents looking at major urban centres in South Africa, weighted on income purchase propensity. This is a well balanced sample that is reflective of the current state of the South African market,” says Sifiso Falala, CEO of Plus 94.
Another new element this year is that interviews will be done with CEOs of the leading businesses to not only get them involved in the research, but also to get from them a sense of what their understanding of reputation is and how they manage it within their companies.
Bringing added value
Not only will Plus 94 explore reputations of companies this year, but it will also present insights into the companies themselves including financial data such as share price and earnings per share (if they are listed), and market share and product usage. The relationship between reputation and market performance/market share will be thoroughly explored to find out if there is a correlation.
“We will try and correlate market share, if you are the leading company in your product field, are you also the market leader in terms of market share. Does reputation rise and fall with market share and/or share price or earnings per share and such indices?” Falala explains.
While this information will not be presented to the public, it will be accessible to companies that purchase the TCRI research.
Some trends already revealed
While Falala didn’t reveal any of the winners just yet, he did provide two trends which have been observed. Firstly, “companies in various categories are viewed differently. For example online classifieds will generally receive a lower average reputation score, this year it sits at 71.03/100, than companies in the IT/technology segment, which is sitting at 81.64/100”.
He also revealed that in some categories there is a clear winner, while in others it is hotly contested. This year the banking category sees a runaway winner, while companies in the fashion retail space this year are separated by a hair’s breadth. Falala comments that the latter could be a case of the companies not doing much to differentiate themselves from their competitors. “Continuous innovation is very important because those who succeed base what they do on ‘why not’ rather than ‘why’.”
A success story for South Africa
Falala says not a lot of research has been done in South Africa around businesses and that a lot has been done around brands, adding, “It’s not about national progress that South Africa is making strides and businesses are making more money and investing more in the community. We have greater visionaries who are more innovative and are introducing new ideas; taking on the world of business … We shouldn’t be looking down on ourselves. When we look at our reputation scores and compare them to scores in the US, they show that our businesses compare very well to international businesses and their average scores are lower than ours. It’s a good story that says we in South Africa and businesses are doing a lot of good”.
The TCRI Awards evening is taking place on 28 September.
*Cybertorial is sponsored content