Learning From 2020’s Brand Reputation Winners and Losers
Not surprisingly, the companies with top reputations in 2020 are trusted, focused on consumers' safety and well-being, and align with their consumers' values and causes. In a time when our country has become increasingly divided, Americans are turning to corporations to respond to critical issues like racial equality, the COVID-19 pandemic and the declining quality of consumers' home life. Brand marketers can takeaway key insights from reputation winners and losers.
Address the issues that are top of mind for your consumers.
According to The Axios Harris Poll 100, which measures what American consumers think about companies across areas including trust, vision, growth, culture, ethics and citizenship, 79% of consumers expect a company's leadership to respond to a crisis like COVID-19 and racial inequality. 82% said they would forgive a company for at least trying to help, even if they didn't get it right.
Consumers want to know that brands pay attention and will not tolerate inequality, violence and prejudice. 58% said they would boycott brands that don't stand for racial equality.
Protect your consumers and focus on safety and well-being.
Earlier this year, I shared the most significant reputational risks for 2020, which included compromised health and safety. Several brands that compromised their customers' safety are low on the reputational rankings, including Juul, PG&E, Boeing and Monsanto.
Many of the reputational winners provided products and delivered essentials to keep Americans safe from COVID-19. According to the rankings, the Clorox Company earned the top spot for the first time. Additionally, Procter & Gamble, maker of products like Charmin, Bounty and Mr. Clean, ranked No. 8, while 3M, maker of N95 masks, ranked No. 12.
With 72% of consumers trusting companies more than the federal government to help find solutions to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and racial equality movement, brand communication during uncertain times is more important than ever.
Know your consumers and make their lives better.
As work-from-home mixes with remote learning for parents, companies that make home life easier and more enjoyable climbed the reputational rankings.
Among the reputational winners, tech players like Netflix, Microsoft, Zoom, Hulu, DoorDash, Peloton and Instacart, contributed to a more productive and entertaining shelter-in-place home life.
Getting ahead in the reputation race.
The reputation pendulum is always swinging. Brands who want to win in the reputation race should focus their marketing and communications on what their customers care about, including corporate vision, beliefs and values. Marketing messages must emphasize how the brand improves a consumer's life.
Even in challenging times, brands have an opportunity to win trust and inspire people.
Jessica Nable's blog is focused on how companies can manage and improve their corporate reputation. With over 15 years of corporate, B2B, financial services, and technology communications experience, Nable is an experienced senior strategic communications consultant who helps organizations build deeper relationships with press, clients and prospects, current and prospective employees, and lawmakers. Reach her at email@example.com and connect with her on LinkedIn.