CHICAGO— Ashton Partners, an independent financial communications firm, has launched the Corporate Credibility Quotient, a strategic framework designed to guide corporate communications programs and provide standardized measures for current and future states of credibility.
The firm says that in today’s environment, companies are being increasingly challenged to protect or enhance the credibility of their management or their overall positioning, and cites a growing body of research supporting the fact that a company’s perceived credibility, as well as the reputation of its CEO, can influence investment decisions.
For example, according to a recent Ernst & Young study, non-financial data accounts for 35 percent of a company’s valuation, with the leading factors being management credibility and the quality and execution of the corporate strategy. Further, more than 30% of industry analysts rely on media coverage for obtaining a company’s strategy.
“Most companies don’t know how to assess, or what to expect from communications,” says Bryan Glaza, senior vice president at Ashton Partners. “One thing is certain, though: successful communications cannot occur in the absence of credibility or believability. CCQ provides a framework for gauging the true value of the corporate communications initiative. As such, it helps influence the perceived integrity of a company and its management with each of its stakeholders, and also enhances the positioning of the communications function within that company.”
CCQ starts with a company’s desired messaging, pinpointing weaknesses as well as strengthening content. It uses qualitative and quantitative measures to constantly analyze and assess how the core messages resonate when applied across the various corporate communications mediums. It differentiates itself from most measurement tools by leveraging proprietary metrics that recognize the various external factors (economic conditions; news/issues; media interests) outside of a company’s control that could influence the effectiveness of its communications.
Says Elizabeth Saunders, principal and co-founder of Ashton Partners, “Credibility is a paramount issue today. A company’s words and actions, if not effective or appropriate, can overshadow its financial performance. Clear, concise, consistent and credible communications can positively affect a company’s overall market position and ultimate valuation. There are tangible benefits to be gained from a message-based, integrated communications approach from the corporate suite.”