THURSDAY 31 MAR 2011 8:46 AM


The corporate reputations of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are worth over £460 billion in value, with the reputations of Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, BG Group and Tesco the most valuable of all.

That’s according to a new study conducted by Echo Research in association with Bestra Brand Consultants. The research has found that on average corporate reputation delivers proportionately more value to FTSE100 companies (around 32% of market cap) than to FTSE250 ones (about 14%).

Indeed, the economic contribution of the corporate reputations of Britain’s largest public companies has increased for the third year running. Across the FTSE350 it now accounts for approximately 30% of all shareholder value, a rise of 3 percentage points over the last 12 months.

The ten most valuable corporate reputations are contributing on average 48% to shareholder value (as measured by market cap). That represents a combined value of £228 billion.

The factors that shape corporate reputation are changing, however. Sandra Macleod, CEO of Echo Research, said that there has been a marked change in the individual attributes the investment community is responding to.

“Last year, at the height of the recession, the most potent elements of reputation were the more pragmatic qualities of ‘value as a long term investment’, ‘financial soundness’ and ‘quality of goods and services’,” she said. “Improvements in perceptions of those factors delivered the greatest value growth. Now, with investors’ uncertainty having settled a little, it appears that factors such as ‘quality of management’ and ‘environmental responsibility’ are of increasing importance, as evidenced by BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.”

The publication of the study coincides with the launch the Reputation Dividend, an index of the financial value of corporate reputation as measured as a percentage of market capitalization. Compiled by Echo Research and Bestra Brand Consultants, it is described as “a diagnostic tool for CEOs, FDs and those responsible for corporate communications, brand management or investor relations”.

It provides an understanding of the value and proportion of market cap attributable to corporate reputation, compares the value of a company’s reputation to that of its peers, analyses the levers of a company’s reputation that contribute most, and measures the ROI in corporate brand communication.

Metrics abound but there is nothing that offers any insight into the immediate economic impact of corporate reputation,” said Macleod. “We believe this new study provides the missing link, connecting reputation drivers to shareholder value, and will become a major source of intelligence on which reputational factors contribute value for quoted businesses.”

Top five reputation contributions 2010/11

1. Royal Dutch Shell 52.1 %
2. Unilever 52.0%
3. BG Group 59.9%
4. Tesco 49.8%
5. BHP Billiton 48.8%