FINANCIAL VALUE OF CORPORATE REPUTATION HEIGHTENED IN THE PANDEMIC
After initially falling to a 10 year low at the height of the pandemic, Reputation Dividend has found that the economic influence of corporate reputation recovered in the last quarter of 2020, now accounting for more than a third of the combined market capitalisation of the FTSE 350, worth £823bn.
According to the study from analysts at Reputation Dividend, corporate reputations have played a major role in protecting value through the 2020 crash. Five of the top 10 companies were new to the leader board, indicating value creation in light of the pandemic.
Unilever had the highest financial value of corporate reputation at 56.5%, following a growing appreciation of Unilever CEO, Alan Jope’s strategic intent, successful unification of the Anglo-Dutch structure and financial lens on sustainability. AstraZeneca placed second with an 11.4% reputation contribution increase, largely due to its $39bn acquisition of rare disease specialist Alexion and its high-profile role in the fight against Covid-19.
On the other end of the spectrum, close to 20 companies rated poorly in corporate reputation and suffered market caps and costs to shareholders as a result. The previous leader, Royal Dutch Shell, saw a reduction in corporate reputation value, following criticisms over its handling of the pandemic.
Simon Cole, founding partner of Reputation Dividend, says “Once the initial shock of the pandemic downturn had subsided, investor attention turned to corporate qualities that not only suggested companies are well placed to ride the storm but also, and critically, best positioned to capitalise on the upturn as and when it comes.”
Looking towards a post Covid-19 economy, the best reputational drivers for recovery include high quality goods and services, innovation and a focus on securing the right kind of talent when planning for the upturn, adds Cole.