Corporate Reputation 2017

Air New Zealand is this country’s most respected company for the third year in a row, enhancing its reputation over the past 12 months and flying away from the rest of the field.

The national airline’s latest success comes in the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index, released today.

The Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index, developed in partnership with Wright Communications, is the only one if its kind in New Zealand and uses the RepZ model, created by Colmar Brunton’s parent company Kantar Millward Brown, to measure four pillars of reputation – social responsibility, fairness, success/leadership and trust.

Colmar Brunton Chief Client Officer Sarah Bolger says while Air New Zealand is joined in the top five by Toyota, Z Energy, AA Insurance and Pak‘nSave, the airline is clearly setting the benchmark for other Kiwi companies.

“In the last year Air New Zealand has increased its overall RepZ score from 116 to 119 – its highest score in the three year history of the Index – and it is the only company surveyed to increase its score across all four pillars,” Ms Bolger says.

“To put that into perspective, the next best companies are Z Energy and Toyota on 110 and the remainder of the top 20 scored between 103 and 109.”

Ms Bolger says based on the RepZ model a score of 105 or above indicates superior strength of reputation and aligns to the top 10% of companies globally, while 101-104 is strong and 100 is average.

“This year the top 10 companies generally demonstrated strength across all four reputation pillars, often with an outstanding performance in one or more,” she says.

Air New Zealand excelled in trust and success with scores of 127 and 121 respectively, and also recorded the highest responsibility score (115), while fairness was the top scoring pillar for Pak’nSave (123), Toyota (118) and The Warehouse (115).

Ms Bolger the RepZ model calculates overall reputation based on the impact of the four pillars on advocacy.

“Advocacy, or the willingness of consumers to speak highly of a company without being asked, is in many ways the most important measure of reputation.

“In this respect, Kiwis, compared to global consumers, respond more strongly to corporates that show they care.”

Ms Bolger says in New Zealand responsibility and trust account for just under 50% of the impact on advocacy compared to only a third globally.

“That says to us that Kiwis respect companies that demonstrate substance to go along with their success.”

Wright Communications Managing Director Nikki Wright says the first step to demonstrating substance for Kiwi companies is to identify what really matters to their stakeholders.

“In many cases companies may be doing the very things that their customers and other stakeholders value but are failing to tell those stories effectively. In other cases some simple actions to address the most important issues for their stakeholders, coupled with an effective communications programme, can go a long way to improving a company’s reputation.”

Wright says an effective communications strategy and meaningful engagement with stakeholders are critical with the continued proliferation of media channels – traditional and non-traditional – increasing reputational risks for companies.

“A company’s reputation is strongly linked to sales performance. So investment in reputation building through enhanced stakeholder engagement and effective communications programmes will pay dividends.”

In New Zealand, trust remains the most important pillar driving reputation so brands that score highly in trust are likely to appear in the top rankings.

Ms Bolger says leaders in the success pillar tend to be big and established, dominating or leading their categories. The 2017 Index reflects this with giants Apple, The Coca Cola Company, BP and Fonterra all among the top 10 success leaders.

“Brands that score highly in fairness have a strong value proposition which equates to the consumer’s perception of how well a brand has balanced its desirability and price. Pak‘nSave is this year’s fairness leader followed by Toyota.”

Ms Bolger says while social responsibility is not the main driver of reputation, from a consumer perspective, it can be a weakness holding back a company if it is perceived to be lacking.

Companies included in the survey included the top 100 consumer facing corporates by revenue as listed in the Deloitte Top 200 plus financial service brands. The survey featured a nationally representative sample with an average sample size of 500 respondents per industry category.

Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index: Top 20

1 Air New Zealand 119
2 Toyota 110
3 Z Energy 110
4 AA Insurance 109
5 Pak‘nSave 109
6 Fisher & Paykel 108
7 TVNZ 108
8 The Warehouse 106
9 New World 106
10 Auckland Airport 106
11 New Zealand Post 105
12 Apple 105
13 2degrees 104
14 Kiwibank 104
15 Mercury 104
16 Briscoes 104
17 Meridian 103
18 ASB 103
19 Trust Power 103
20 Genesis Energy 103

What is corporate reputation?
Corporate reputation is not something you can manufacture. It’s an admirable identity that can be moulded through consistent performance usually over many years.

A reputation develops from a company’s sustained identity shaping practices that lead its stakeholders to perceive the company as responsible, fair, successful and trustworthy.