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alva’s top ten corporate reputation articles in 2015

Corporate reputation was everywhere in 2015. Some of the world’s most respected companies suffered reputation crises, while reputational risk was a feature towards the top of numerous executive surveys.

Rather than getting caught up with the popular media narrative around these issues, alva made a point of taking an analytical look at the key reputation stories in 2015. This approach enabled us to get to the heart of the issues and understand the true impact that reputational issues were having on the performance and key stakeholders and of the affected corporations.

Below we’ve listed alva’s most read reputation articles from 2015:

10: Amazon’s workforce – when a “reputation crisis” isn’t a reputation crisis

In mid-August, the New York Times published a critical expose on Amazon’s workplace culture. This received a lot of press coverage but we investigated to see if the negative publicity was actually having any impact on Amazon’s key stakeholders, including consumers, investors and employees.

9: Damage to corporate reputation is top ranked risk

Two surveys in the first half of the year indicated that while senior executives are aware of the importance of corporate reputation, they also believe they are not prepared for a potential reputational crisis.

Aon’s Global Risk Management survey ranked damage to reputation as the biggest risk for global organisations. However, a survey by Deloitte found that 39% of senior executives thought the maturity of their reputational risk strategy was average or below average.

8: Top Three banks for customer experience

In May we ranked the UK’s retail banking sector for customer experience. Nationwide topped this list largely thanks to their branch experience and wearable tech.

Brach experience was a recurring theme in the ranking, with offers, rewards and gifts also appearing more than once.

7: Reputation: Managing the Risk event highlights

In July, alva spoke at an event by Willis and the Institute of Risk Management on reputational risk. We explained that it is no longer acceptable for reputational risks to be handled by departments like PR or crisis management, after an incident has occurred. Instead, modern organisations should be treating this like any other risk and proactively analysing and monitoring early signs of emerging issues.

This piece summarises the presentation, as well as those by speakers from HS2, Santander, Clifford Chance and Regester Larkin.

6: Jamie Oliver calls for a Sugar Tax – how should companies respond?

One of the biggest issues in 2015 for the food and beverage industry has been health. Jamie Oliver has been one of the leading figures in the debate, calling for a tax on sugary food and drink. While the issue generated a lot of media interest it was unclear what consumers actually thought and what it meant for the industry.

We’ve been following this issue for three years so we analysed the data to understand if fundamental changes were needed to protect the reputation of the industry, or if more work was needed to convince the public that this was an issue that would alter their consumer behaviour.

5: Climate change – an existential reputational risk to the mining sector

Analysis we conducted in conjunction with the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) ranked climate change as the second most negative issue affecting stakeholder perceptions of the mining industry. Between March – August 2015 the issue had increased in negative impact by ten times.

We analysed what this means for the mining industry, who is driving the conversation and how they can begin to protect and enhance their reputation in relation to this key issue.

4: The impact of P2P on the reputation of banks

The prominence of P2P lending has been steadily rising in recent years, alongside a noticeable increase in positive coverage. This presents a new challenge to banks and we investigate the reputation risks and opportunities related to P2P lenders.

We also review Santander’s partnership with Funding Circle to understand one way in which banks are responding positively to P2P lending.

3: Cybersecurity and the risks to reputation

In late October, cybersecurity dominated the news headlines as TalkTalk suffered their third data-breach in a year. We analysed how these repeated incidents were affecting their reputation with a variety of stakeholders including the media, investors, politicians, regulators and customers.

We also contrasted the impact that multiple breaches have on reputation with that of one off incidents at companies such as Sony, Barclays and Carphone Warehouse.

2: Why Businesses need Reputation Intelligence: An analysis of Thomas Cook

2015 proved to be a very challenging year for Thomas Cook as they hit the headlines for their handling of a sensitive legal case. Their management of the developing crisis was widely criticised, only serving to prolong the attention.

We wanted to go beyond the media outcry and investigate what impact this crisis was actually having on their key stakeholders and if there was a firm link between reputation and financial value.

1: VW’s emissions admission – have they poisoned their reputation with consumers?

Our most read piece in 2015 was our analysis of a truly international reputation crisis. VW was one of the most respected automobile brands, so when it was revealed that they had been manipulating emissions tests it made the global headlines.

However, when a media-storm is underway it can often be tricky to understand the true impact this is having on the brand’s key stakeholders. We took an analytical look at how the scandal had affected customer purchasing decisions and if there was any way VW could restore its reputation.

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