A substantial majority of global business executives (79 percent) believe that companies with strong track records of corporate responsibility recover their reputations faster post-crisis than those with weaker records, according to a survey, Safeguarding Reputation conducted in 11 markets by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick with KRC Research.
“Reputation recovery is increasingly driven by more than financial metrics,” says Weber Shandwick’s international head of corporate responsibility and sustainability Brendan May. “As social, economic and political agendas increasingly influence consumer and market issues, companies now recognize that a record of corporate responsibility can inoculate a company against long-term reputation failure. Responsibility is no a longer nice-to-have. It is now a must-have corporate mandate.”
Global business executives were also asked to rate factors that build company reputation today. Over one-half (55 percent) surveyed report that being recognized as committed to corporate responsibility contributes “a lot” to a company’s overall reputation. European and Asia Pacific executives were more likely than their North American counterparts to agree on the importance of corporate responsibility in driving reputation.
“Companies have awakened to the fact that corporate responsibility is a business imperative in building a good reputation today. Leaders understand that responsible companies attract the best talent, earn valuable trust and generate more positive word-of-mouth,” added Weber Shandwick’s U.S. corporate practice chair Micho Spring. “In fact, KPMG International reports that 52 percent of the largest 250 firms of the Fortune 500 publish corporate social responsibility reports, an increase of 45 percent from three years ago.”