afaqs!

Infosys, VSNL and Reliance are top media favourites

By , agencyfaqs!, na | In Advertising | April 01, 2002
The Cirrus tracking service for media relations shows that nurturing the corporate image has to be a continuous effort

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI
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It takes hard work to stay at the top of the greasy pole. This is borne out by the findings of Cirrus, a service from agencyfaqs! which has been monitoring, since October 2001, how media perceives over 1,100 corporates in India. Though Infosys Technologies has received the maximum positive coverage in media over the past six months, the image lead has been changing hands almost every 30 days.

It has by no means been a walkover for the Bangalore-based media darling. In October, Cirrus 200, which ranks the top 200 corporates by positive coverage ('Image Index' is positive coverage less negative coverage) as opposed to vanilla coverage ('Visibility Index', or positive plus negative coverage), Maruti Udyog led all else in the first month, followed by ICICI Ltd. At that time, Infosys was only No 13.

By the end of November, the cumulative positive coverage showed that Microsoft had moved into the lead with Maruti snapping at its heels, followed by ICICI.

As the year 2001 drew to an end, a new leader had emerged - surprise, surprise - UTI. The positive coverage it received overwhelmed its immense negative reportage to take it to the No 1 spot on Cirrus 200. It was followed by Microsoft. After that, Maruti, Wipro, Infosys and BSNL were strung close together from ranks No 3 to No 6.

By January 31, Hindustan Lever, consistently among the Top 10, had inched to the top, nudging Infosys out of the way, but only just. The cumulative score on positive coverage showed that Wipro had taken third place, followed by Larsen & Toubro and then Maruti Udyog.

On February 28, the lead shifted to Infosys - but again, barely. The VSNL disinvestment caused such breathless excitement in the media that this corporate, only No 12 in the month before, almost overtook Infosys in cumulative positive coverage. The next clutch of companies in the positive image stakes with fairly similar scores were UTI, Wipro, BSNL, Maruti and Microsoft, in that order.

There is a one-week lag in the reporting of the Cirrus 200. As on March 21, Infosys was still a whisker ahead of VSNL. Reliance Industries scored huge points in March on the announcement of its merger with Reliance Petroleum and took the overall cumulative third place based on coverage since October 1 last year. (It had been placed between No 10-14 over the last couple of months.)

Wipro, Maruti, UTI and Microsoft take places No 4 to No 7, though the gaps between them have widened a bit. BSNL (No 8), Telco (No 9) and HLL (No 10) are the other companies in the Top 10. To see the full list of the Top 50 corporates in the Image Index, click here.

Because the Cirrus 200 Image Index changes every day, the fluctuation in rankings over the months can be huge. This is especially true of those corporates that received negative coverage in October but have since more than made up.

Among the most dramatic recoveries in the Cirrus 200 over the last four months:
Pioneer ITI Mutual Fund, now ranked at No 90 on the Cirrus Image Index, was No 648 on November 30, 2001. Ranks gained: 558.
JCT now No 100 (from No 556, up 456 places).
Escotel Mobile Communications, No 110 (from No 561, up 451 spots).
Balco, No 113 (from No 1027, up by an amazing 914 positions).
Templeton Asset Management, No 130 (from No 612, up 482 slots).
Hindalco, No 156 (from No 1075, up by an incredible 919 places).
Paradeep Phosphates, No 162 (from No 650, up 488 ranks).
Zuari Maroc Phosphates, No 174 (from No 651, up 477 spots).
Hughes Network Systems No 179 (from No 652, up 473 ranks since November 30, 2001).

This just proves that corporate action backed by intelligent media relations can make a world of a difference in a few months. © 2002 agencyfaqs!