CYBERTORIAL* This is the week in which South Africa’s top-ranking companies in terms of their reputation will be revealed. Will Coca-Cola retain the top spot? Which companies will improve on last year’s position and will others be surprised with a fall? These questions will be answered on Wednesday.
The Top Companies Reputation Index (TCRI), an initiative of Plus 94 Research and the Mail & Guardian, is the largest corporate reputation study conducted annually in South Africa since 2010. 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.
This year’s awards will be held on 28 September. If you want to attend, you can contact Thato Lekitla on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 011 250 7393.
Attending the event will be well worthwhile as experts will unpack the latest trends in reputation measurement and management practices, and you will get to see how the reputation of your competitors compares to yours. If your company is not part of the survey, there is still a lot to learn and you will get to mingle with representatives from the top companies and possibly learn their secrets for reputation success.
Why is reputation so important to a brand?
Sifiso Falala, CEO of Plus 94 Research, says many people underestimate the importance of reputation, “Many businesses focus on PR, but the truth is they are not doing things that are sustainable for long term reputation.” He also explained the differences between different elements of a business including:
- The brand is a tangible product, it’s what you expect. It’s what you buy
- Brand image is all the aspects that attract you to a brand
- Brand identity is when consumers recognise a brand
- Brand image + brand identity + the character of a brand = reputation
As seen by the equation above, reputation is not a simple concept. But it can be loosely compared to the brand becoming a person and how other people perceive that person. They either say, “He/she is a bad person, I don’t agree with his/her values so I don’t want to associate with him/her” or they say, “He/she is a good person. I agree with his/her principles so I will associate with him/her”.
Reputation includes the vision of the brand as well as the inter-personal skills that the brand has with its consumers.
If a company’s reputation is broken, Falala says it can’t be fixed overnight. “The character side of a brand is more damaging to a business,” he explains.
And the scary part is that it doesn’t take much for a business’ reputation to be damaged. Falala cites the example of MTN which, after the situation it found itself in in Nigeria, dropped out of the top 15 on the TCRI after being in the top five in previous years. FNB also took a hit, not appearing in the top 40 after being in the top 10 in 2013.
“These are illustrations of how reputation can change so quickly … brand image and reputation is often difficult to differentiate as industries move so quickly,” Falala says.
Michael Bratt of The Media Online will be live tweeting from the Top Companies Reputation Index Awards on Wednesday evening. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8. A story will also be posted on The Media Online after the Awards. But the main benefit for your company (if you are one of the ones included in the Index) is that a technical report can be purchased for a minimal fee from Plus 94 Research to give you insights into how your brand’s reputation has performed this year.
*Cybertorial is sponsored content.
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