Archive for March 2012
Dan Soulas explains how what stakeholders think of your brand is responsible for an average of 31% of US share prices.
Few CEOs would question that corporate reputation ranks amongst their most important assets. However, hardly any would be able to say exactly how much it's worth.
More importantly perhaps, few would be able to say with any confidence that they knew exactly what they should be doing to manage and ultimately maximize the value it represents.
Our research, however, reveals that:
- Corporate reputation was adding close to $3.4bn of shareholder value to companies across the S&P500 as at August 2011.
- The proportion of a company's market capitalization attributable to reputation averages 31% across the S&P500.
In fact, a rise in the value of corporate reputation in the last four years has laid the foundations for the share price recovery that we see today. Although many corporate reputations suffered in the turmoil precipitated by the failure of Lehman Brothers in 2008, reputation has been an important driver of stock price growth since then.
Our analysis shows that in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 market collapse, the average contribution of reputation to company value in the S&P500 fell by 3 percentage points to 13%. Since then, it has grown steadily in absolute terms and now represents 31%.
Naturally as reputation has grown its share of company value, some companies have performed better than others. The average contribution of reputation of the largest 20% of companies (by market cap) tracked is 45%. The top performing organizations are Apple and Google with a 58% contribution.
By contrast the contribution of corporate reputation in the bottom 20% of companies analyzed is only 13% and, in many cases, poor reputation is destroying value and reducing market capitalization.
The bottom line is that corporate reputations are now underpinning investor confidence in companies' ability to deliver the economic returns expected.
On the whole, the larger, and arguably more "communications sophisticated" companies, are more successful at creating value through their corporate reputations.
Nevertheless reputational value can be a fickle friend and can, and sometimes does, change quickly. Although the reputation contribution of the companies common to both our 2011 and 2010 studies increased by an average of 11%, individual changes ranged significantly.
The 10 largest risers registered an average increase of 28 percentage points while at the other end of the spectrum the 10 largest fallers declined by 11 percentage points.
What chief executives really want to know, however, is how corporate reputation can grow shareholder value.
Our analysis shows that on average, a 5% improvement in the strength of a corporate reputation of an S&P500 company can be expected to deliver an increase in market capitalization of close to 3%.
Furthermore, a better reputation will also increase the investment community's confidence in a company's ability to deliver the returns it promises.
The bottom line is that investment in building corporate reputation pays dividends and investment in understanding which particular components of reputation offer the greatest returns will enable companies to maximize them.