UK: Big increase in concern for corporate reputations
R has become more important as a barometer of company health in recent years in the UK, according to MORI's annual Captains of Industry survey. In 2003, 48% of CEOs, chairmen and senior board members of the FTSE's top 500 companies spontaneously mentioned image and R as the main criteria they use to judge a company - ahead of indicators such as financial performance and product/service quality.
This marks a big shift from 1983, when only 8% of company leaders showed concern for R.
'What has changed is businesses now take a much wider view of their operations, and they think and serve a broader community,' says Liz Hewitt, group corporate affairs director at FTSE 100 medical device maker Smith & Nephew. She explains that the so-called captains have to consider the needs of a wider range of stakeholders than their counterparts in 1983 did, a group that spans customers, suppliers, employees, trade groups, shareholders and government. R is of concern to all interest groups.
Weber Shandwick UK & Ireland chief executive Colin Byrne says CEOs have picked up on R because they see a definite link to the more traditional benchmarks of long-term financial performance, ability to attract and retain the best staff, and customer approval.
Hill & Knowlton MD of corporate comms Stuart Wilson believes it is corporate governance scandals, such as those involving Parmalat, Enron and Shell, that have left boardrooms shaken, while rocketing corporate R up the agenda.
Interesting, don't you think: 3 different explanations for a single phenomena.
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