Corporate reputation is assuming increasing importance in today's business, economic and social environment. This is happening because corporate behaviour is now under greater scrutiny, and corporate valuations simply do not rely on just financial performance.
In fact, corporate reputation has become a benchmark of investor confidence, and goes much beyond market capitalisation and brand equity.
TNS India has just completed its first annual survey of corporate reputation of India's leading corporations.
The five companies that lead the rankings in Corporate Reputation Strength (CRS) are TISCO, Infosys, Wipro, Maruti Udyog and Hero Honda.
Explaining what exactly corporate reputation means, S Ganapathy, director, TNS India, says, "In broad terms, corporate reputation represents stakeholder expectations from, and experiences with, the company's products and services, processes, management and systems. It encompasses both rational and emotional dimensions that define a company's state of relationship with its diverse stakeholder groups."
Apart from overall winners, there are community-specific leaders as well. Among the financial community, TISCO leads with a CRS Index of 88. Other companies with relatively strong corporate reputation in this group are Wipro, L&T, Hero Honda, Infosys, Maruti Udyog, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Motors and Hyundai Motors.
Among business managers, Infosys leads with a CRS Index of 84. Other companies figuring at the top are TISCO, Wipro, Maruti Udyog, Colgate Palmolive and Tata Consultancy Services.
According to the perception among general public, TISCO leads with a CRS Index of 82 followed by Maruti Udyog, Wipro, MRF, Infosys and Hero Honda.
Among these companies, there are clear differences in CRS ratings between engineering and management students. While Infosys is 'top of the heap' among management students, Tata Consultancy Services is preferred amongst engineering students.
Interestingly, many of the companies that are rated high by different respondent communities do not find much favor among students. While ratings among management students are higher for FMCG companies, engineering students aren't too impressed by these companies.
Korean MNCs, such as LG, Samsung and Hyundai Motors, have been rated pretty high in this study. Equally surprising is that Hindustan Lever has not figured in the top rung. Moreover, none of the telecom, pharma or banking companies figured in the top bracket of companies.
Maruti Udyog leads in Corporate Reputation Leverage strength. "However, it is not enough to rate high in the Corporate Reputation sweepstakes. It is also important to assess the extent to which companies are leveraging their reputation among relevant groups," points out Ravi Shankar, senior vice- president, TNS India.
In general, the CRL Index is much higher within the financial community as compared to the corporate manager and general public segments. This is probably is a reflection of the focus of PR efforts of companies skewed towards reporting on financial performance quarter-on-quarter. Maruti Udyog is the only company with relatively high indices across all the three stakeholder groups.
TNS Corporate Reputation Manager is designed to meet the needs of company management as well as Investor Relations departments of companies, as well as PR and communications agencies. It provides inputs for strategy development, identification of key areas for action and communication, as well as performance monitoring over time. The deliverables from the TNS Corporate Reputation Manager helps the company, strengthen and reinforce its standing with each and every stakeholder group of interest at and across various points of time.
Stakeholder groups covered by this study are the financial community, senior and middle business managers in industry and the general public. In addition, engineering and management students who are influenced by reputation among the other three stakeholder groups, were also covered. A total of 60 leading companies across diverse sectors were selected for the study. The survey was conducted between August-September 2004, with fieldwork audited and certified by the BIS.
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