Posts Tagged ‘KRC Research’
We at Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research take the topic of civility seriously (see Civility in America, our third annual survey) because it impacts the reputation of the United States and affects public discourse. The new survey we just released is among 1,053 adults, 18+, and was conducted between September 14-16th. Data were weighted to align with the U.S. population distribution.
We found two-thirds (66 percent) of likely voters saying incivility was a major problem in society with 85 percent also saying political campaigns are uncivil. By a margin of almost 2 to1 (62 percent to 32 percent), likely voters said incivility has always been part of the political process but more than three-quarters (78 percent) said incivility in politics is worse now than it has ever been.
Since the debates are upon us (first one is tomorrow night), we decided to ask Americans about they perceived the civility of the candidates. Here is what we learned – there is a civility gap between the candidates:
- A majority of likely voters, 55 percent – 42 percent, considers President Obama’s campaign tone to be civil, while a plurality, 49 percent – 45 percent, perceives Governor Romney’s tone as uncivil. The civility gap is potentially significant because nearly half of likely voters polled, 48 percent, say the candidate’s civility will be a “very important” factor in how they vote.
- The gap was much less pronounced for the Vice Presidential candidates. Vice President Biden was seen as civil by a margin of 49 percent to 43 percent while likely voters were evenly split in their assessment of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, with 46 percent saying he was civil and the same number saying he had been uncivil.
- Fifty-seven percent of likely voters say that any incivility demonstrated on the debate stage will affect their votes. The sentiment was shared equally by self-described Democrats (54 percent), Republicans (55 percent) and Independents (58 percent).
- If you saw today’s Wall Street Journal article on incivility online, we could have told them that 23 percent of likely voters said they defriended someone on Facebook or stopped following them on Twitter not because of their political views but because those views were expressed uncivilly.
- And when it comes to tuning OUT of political advertising, a sizeable 75 percent of likely voters are doing so and nearly as many – 72 percent — are tuning out when they receive emails asking for political campaign support. My in-box is full, how’s yours?
All of this comes down to the degradation of political reputations in the future. We learned that seventy-three percent of likely voters say that incivility in politics deters qualified people from going into public service. That’s a large number and if it is as true as it must be, we have a lot of work ahead of us.
You have probably read enough about our survey The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust. The first segment of the study, released in early 2012, reported on the growing interdependence of product brand and corporate reputation. The findings alerted marketing and communications executives to a tectonic shift in communicating the voice of the “enterprise” to key stakeholders. The survey, conducted with KRC Research, was among nearly 2,000 consumers and executives in two developed markets (U.S. and U.K.) and two developing markets (China and Brazil). The second release focused on CEOs and their role in reputation-building from the viewpoint of consumers and executives. This third release, just issued today, explores how executives in companies that market their products under multiple brand names differ from those companies who market mostly under one single brand name in their approach to building reputation. It addresses why it may be critical for product brands to be transparent about their ownership, even in cases where a company has made thoughtful and strategic decisions to lessen the exposure of the corporate brand.
We learned that 75% of executives at companies that manage products under multiple brand names now believe that a strong parent brand reputation is as important as the company’s individual product brands. As I was quoted in today’s release and executive summary: “Historically, multi-brand organizations more extensively marketed their product brands over their corporate brands, but their future success might entail determining how to bring the corporate brand forward to realize the full potential of all their reputational assets.”
I always get asked what surprised me. First, despite the advantage of leveraging the parent brand to enhance the reputation of the product brands, the survey found that many multi-brand executives aren’t fully embracing consumers’ increased scrutiny of the company behind the products they buy. While more than eight in 10 single-brand executives recognize that consumers are increasingly checking labels and doing research to identify the company behind the brand, significantly fewer multi-brand executives recognize how proactive and discerning consumers are about what they buy.
|Percent completely/mostly agree…||
|More and more, consumers are checking labels to see what company is behind the product they are buying||
|More and more, consumers are doing research to learn about the companies that make the products they buy||
* indicates the group is significantly higher
The second surprise was that despite the fact that multi-brand executives say they are promoting company reputation as much as product reputation (81 percent and 80 percent, respectively), they fall short in communicating some key drivers of company reputation compared to their single-brand counterparts, particularly how employees are treated. There was a particularly large gap between single- and multi-brand companies when it comes to communicating about their workplace (73 percent vs. 52 percent, respectively). Companies that are proud of their records for employee satisfaction should not be reluctant to communicate these qualities and tout their awards or placement on ‘best of’ lists. These credentials help drive the overall reputation of a company, regardless of how many brands it markets, and possibly influence purchasing behavior.
Take a look at the summary for greater detail. When I was talking to PRWeek about the findings, they said they were surprised how little information was available on this topic. We agree. When we did the background research on the increasing indivisibility of the corporate and brand reputation today, we were floored by how little had been done and how companies had been relying on “this is how we’ve done it” thinking. We hope that we at Weber Shandwick are filling in some critical gaps on this dimension of corporate vs. brand reputation in a no-secrets-consumer-is-in-the-driver’s-seat Internet world.
I have thought about the company behind the brand for at least a decade (maybe more?). Years ago, I was involved in a pilot test where we placed corporate and product ads for several companies from different sectors in a business publication to try to determine the right balance of corporate to product messages to generate awareness and interest to buy. Should a company run one corporate advertisement and 1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 product ads to gain notice? Should they alternate the order — three product ads, one corporate ad, three product ads in that order? Do they even need corporate ads? Over how many months would it take to generate the most interest for the company and the products being sold? This was in the days when companies were wondering if they should communicate what they stood for, who they were and if it really mattered. Obviously pre-Internet days. It was a huge research undertaking that involved printing presses and hand-inserted advertisements. I learned alot about rubber glue and washing sticky hands. But my interest in the company behind the brand has always remained with me and kept me wondering how important it was to consumers (and executives). Do they really care? Does anyone notice the face of a company and its character, its values, its narrative? What do people do if they don’t like the parent company but still want the product?
Luckily, we now have research on how important the corporate brand or parent company really is and why it matters to consumers and executives alike. We released the research today, The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust, conducted with KRC Research. Some of the key findings are:
- 70 percent avoid buying a product if they don’t like the company behind the product (consumers)
- 67 percent are increasingly checking product labels to see what company is behind the product (consumers)
- 61 percent get annoyed when they can’t tell what company is behind a product (consumers)
- 56 percent do research to learn about the companies that make what they buy (consumers)
- 56 percent hesitate to buy products if they can’t tell who makes them (consumers)
- Executives estimate that, on average, 60 percent of their firms’ market value is attributable to its reputation.
- 86 percent of executives report that their companies increased their efforts to build reputation over the past few years
More to come. And it’s been a busy day getting the research out so will return shortly.
For the second year in a row, about two-thirds, or 65% of Americans say that civility is a major problem, according to our annual Civility in America poll by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate in partnership with KRC Research. The timing for this survey is pretty right on. I just read that presidential candidate Jon Huntsman pledges that there will be a climate of civility in the race to the top if it is up to him. You would think he spoke to us first! If you read the results regarding perceptions on civility when it comes to politics, you will quickly see that the presidential race could literally depend on the civility factor.
The perceived lack of civility in the United States has far-reaching implications for the reputation of the USA with 91 percent saying that incivility has negative consequences for the nation. Those polled said that incivility in government is harming America’s future; that incivility in American life is harming our standing in the world; and that incivility prevents the country from moving forward. About half of the respondents (49 percent) said that the U.S. was among the most civil countries in the world.
The 2011 online survey was conducted in May among 1,000 American adults to assess attitudes towards civility online, in the workforce, in the classroom and in politics.
Check out the executive summary. We have our work cut out for us.
Weber Shandwick just issued a research report on Civility in America. We did it with Powell Tate and KRC Research. There is an abundance of interesting information such as the fact that 94% of Americans think that civility is a major problem in the United States and has become worse since the recession. Seventy-two percent of Americans view the political world and government as the most uncivil – the highest percentage recorded in the poll – and the absence of civility appears to be having an impact on participation and interest in the political process among broad swaths of the public.
Nearly half the American people (49%) are “tuning out” of government and politics, and almost two-thirds of those people (63%) cite the general tone and level of civility as a major factor in their decision. A fairly large 46% of people are tuning out opinion pieces and editorials in the media, and 45% cite incivility as a major factor. Over one third (38%) are tuning out news coverage and reporting and half of them (50%) attribute their actions to the lack of civility. How can we be an informed public when growing numbers of us are turning away from what makes America tick?
This is bad enough but what got me is how the public is turning away from companies who desperately need their business to rebuild our economy. A full three-quarters (75%) of Americans believe that companies that are uncivil should be boycotted. In fact, 64% of Americans report that they have advised others not to buy products or services because they felt the company or its representatives were rude or uncivil. Companies clearly need to be closely monitoring and listening to their “badvocates” or critics to make sure they are not overlooking poor customer service or improper commentary. Reputations can be damaged quickly when customers perceive they are not being treated properly. When you think of companies that are extremely courteous, helpful and patient such as Zappos, you realize how important “tone” can be and what drives reputation in some industries. I sure hope you have seen their puppet commercials which take civility to new heights.
Business leaders also have considerable influence, since they are expected to set an example for behaving civilly. Nearly every American (91%) believes that business leaders should set an example for behaving with civility. Not only are business leaders expected to act with civility, but the majority (82%) believe that companies should not tolerate uncivil behavior in the workplace. I always find it remarkable how CEOs are held responsible for everything that goes wrong (as they should often be but not for everything!) and realize that incivility is now being added to their plate.
All in all, how a company and its leaders communicate and engage says it all and with the Internet and 24/7 media, companies must be extra careful. The recent events with Gen. Stanley McChrystal are just a recent example of how the wrong tone and poor choice of words can get you into hot water.
[If you are interested in this topic, you might want to visit Civilination.]
We just released the results of a survey we did with KRC Research among 151 executives in Fortune 1000 companies in April/May on the reputation of CEOs in general. Although we have seen several surveys on what consumers think and it is not pretty, we thought it would be useful to understand what the executive class thinks about this elite group of officers. Since it is critical that the next generation of leaders do not abandon ship and decline any “chieftain” jobs if offered, we thought we’d inquire about their perceptions. As many CEOs gather in Detroit this week to come up with solutions on American competitiveness (National Summit), this would be a good time. Here are some of the findings:
*The majority of executives in America’s biggest companies – 66% – believe that the reputation of CEOs today is largely negative. Only 14% give CEOs a positive rating and the remaining 20% are non-committal.
*Despite CEOs’ low approval rating, approximately one out of two executives (49%) report being interested in becoming CEO one day, virtually unchanged from earlier aspirations. Even those executives who rate CEOs’ reputation poorly are surprisingly upbeat about one day accepting a CEO position (48%).
*Executives overwhelmingly believe that the road to CEO redemption requires publicly taking responsibility when their firms are in crisis and tying CEO compensation to performance (knew that was coming). Other critically important steps include holding more face-to-face meetings with employees, publicly speaking up for themselves and their companies, being more transparent, and issuing regular CEO updates about their business outlook. No surprise that internal and external communications figure large in CEO reputation salvation. It is important to now begin filling the void.
The good news is that our next generation of CEOs appears eager to sit in the corner suite and for the right reasons (making a difference, growing business and meeting the toughest challenges of the day). CEOs have their work cut out for them but I think we will see reputation recovery in due time. In fact, when we asked when we’d see CEO reputations redeemed, it looks like 2013 is the year. Mark it on your calendars. I did on mine.
[Check out an interview on the results in BusinessWeek online]
Since I joined the communications field, I have always been fascinated by the intellectually stimulating and wide variety of activities that comprise communications officers’ jobs. At first, I encountered “you are in the pr field?” when I told people that I left publishing for public relations. I used to oversee public relations as part of my previous job as Marketing & Communications Director at Fortune. Perhaps I have been luckier than most but the field suits me fine because of its expertise in shaping corporate and CEO reputations. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I am very interested in examining the reputation of the corporate communications professional today. As I saw presidential strategists’ David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs shape candidate Obama’s daily messages and actions, I knew that the CCO job might finally be recognized as critical in a 24/7 always open always on marketplace.
Last year we partnered with executive search firm Spencer Stuart on researching the changing role of the CCO (Corporate Communications Officer). Now we are in year two, a more challenging year. What did we learn about the CCO’s job, reputation and responsibilities? In a time of unprecedented economic volatility, global CCOs have actually seen their “stock” rise over the past 12 months. Just what I predicted. In The Rising CCO, conducted with KRC Research, 58% of global Fortune 500 CCOs now report to the CEO, compared to 48% a year ago. That is a large increase. Not only do more CCOs call the CEO their boss, but 40% of CCOs consider the CEO to be their biggest ally in the organization. This leadership momentum coincides with an increase in CCO tenure: in 2008, CCOs’ average tenure was 65 months, compared to 54 months in 2007. By comparison, the average tenure of chief marketing officers is 28 months, according to research conducted separately by Spencer Stuart. The CCO is definitely on the rise and a greater asset than ever during these critical times.
We also found that experience in crisis communications and issues management is critical to a CCO’s success. It was not always the case when the marketplace was plentiful and everything seemed to be pointed upwards. According to CCOs surveyed, the need for crisis/issues management experience increased 45% since 2007. Additionally, and importantly, CCOs cite social media/blogging as the most frequently added function to their corporate communications departments in 2008, and they believe that social media/blogging will be their most important tool in 2009.
As corporate reputation—anticipated to be the number one communications priority in 2009—endures extreme stress and the Internet provides unanticipated opportunities and risks, skills often “owned” by the CCO are in greater demand: crisis and issues management, social media monitoring and online engagement, reputation management, and management of a complex portfolio of stakeholders such as employees, investors, nongovernmental organizations and trade media.
It goes without saying that CEOs and boards are under tremendous pressure to navigate through the stormy seas of the current economic tsunami. Like never before, CEOs are depending on CCOs for crisis and issues counsel to steady their company reputations and calm stakeholders.