Brands are global, but corporate reputation is local, according to MSLGROUP, the Publicis-owned PR network. In The Reputation Impact Indicator, based on more than 26,000 interviews across ten countries where respondents were asked whether they liked, trusted and respected certain companies to create a Reputation Core Index (RCI), with further questions then exploring the factors contributing to how consumer saw those companies.
Perceptions around products and services created the strongest reputation driver followed by corporate behaviour, with financial performance the least influential in this regard.
There were also "considerable" geographical variations. "We found numerous examples where both the strength of the Reputation Core and the associations people make with and discussions they have about brands were every different," the report noted.
Two pharma companies illustrated the extremes possible. GlaxoSmithKline's RCI ranged from 42 in Sweden to 81 in India, while the equivalent figure for AstraZeneca were 52 in Canada and 84 in Brazil.
These highlighted another of the study's findings – that consumers in developing markets have a much more positive attitude towards businesses.
The average RCI for companies was 66 across the ten countries surveyed, with the US (67) and Canada (64) hovering around the mean. But India (79), Brazil (76), China (75) and South Africa (74) were all significantly higher, while the UK (61), Germany (60), France (59) and Sweden (51) were all lower.
"The differences observed between 'the old world' and 'the new world' underline the need for a finely-tuned reputation strategy," noted Glenn Osaki, president, MSLGroup in Asia.
"Brands should avoid a standardised global definition of reputation, but attend to each individual market with insight and care," he told Marketing Interactive.
Data sourced from MSLGROUP, Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff