MONDAY 23 APR 2018 4:11 PM


For the first time in 10 years, the reputation of companies operating in the UK has decreased. Financial services firms and big businesses in the UK were the ones whose reputation was affected the most by the financial crisis and has yet to recover fully. In addition to that, it is speculated that the uncertainties posed by Brexit has caused even more damage to their reputation.

The Reputation Institute has released its annual UK RepTrak 150 ranking for the UK’s most reputable companies. Rolex, Lego and Bosch top the chart this year. The rankings resulted from more than 31,000 ratings collected in the first quarter of 2018 across the UK.

According to the 2018 UK RepTrak, from 2017-2018 the supportive behaviour expressed by consumers for UK companies has generally declined. The most major drop is in the UK’s willingness to provide companies with the benefit of the doubt – a 13% decrease. An 11% decrease in consumers’ positive feedback about an organisation has also been noted, as well as a 10% decrease in their opinions on companies’ investments and trust in business ethics. 

As Reputation Institute’s research suggests, reputation is directly connected to businesses’ results. The better the reputation, the more customers a company attracts. Statistically, only 18% of customers would buy the products of companies with an average reputation, whereas 33% of customers would buy them if their reputation is strong and 72% if their reputation is excellent.

Harry Foster, the Reputation Institute’s director of consulting, says, “Neutrality or uncertainty around companies’ governance and citizenship initiatives means that despite significant investment in this area, these programs and initiatives are not resonating with people. In addition, the growing perception is that companies are not communicating often, or providing sufficient information about what they are doing. It’s harder to stand out from the crowd, and harder to appear genuine about what you say and do.”

Half of the companies featured at the top of the rankings are different to last year’s rankings. Rolex takes over the top spot from Lego, which held first place in 2017. Furthermore, Bosch, Nintendo, Amazon and the Walt Disney Company appear in the top 10 for the first time, dethroning Michelin, Intel and PayPal.

Foster says, “It is fascinating to see companies like Merlin Entertainments Group – in the wake of the Alton Towers ride injuries – Amazon – following a data breach scandal in 2017 – and Sports Direct – following the ‘Victorian workhouse’ scandal – be amongst this year’s biggest movers.”

The rise of reputation of companies like Uber, Ryanair and betting firm 888, which suffered the most reputational declines in 2017, shows that companies who are willing to learn from their mistakes, evolve and communicate this to the public, can get a second chance.

The RepTrak system takes into consideration both the emotional connection a consumer has with a company and a company’s ability to deliver on investor expectations about services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.

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