The recently released The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust study from Weber Shandwick makes an interesting read.
Not only does this research study confirm the basic tenets of my book Corporate Image Management: A Marketing Discipline, but it also provides a handy way of look at what the PR firms calls the 6 New Realities of Corporate Reputation.
However, the part of the research report I liked best were the verbatim quotations from some of the consumers from the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil who participated in this study. These customer insights will go a long way in helping you to keep good customers:
The company is the soul of the product. — Brazilian customer
The company's reputation represents the products' quality assurance. — Chinese consumer
It is the company you are financially supporting when you buy its product. We have too many choices to buy a product from a company we don't like. — U.S. consumer
People like to associate themselves with a product, and if the standards of a company fall below that then people are less likely to associate themselves with that product or company. — U.K. customer
Once the customer invests in a product, they become stakeholders in that business and therefore have a vested interest in that company by association. — U.K. consumer
In tough economic times it is nice to know that a company takes care of its employees, offers new employment within local cities, and gives back to loyal customers. — U.S. customer
An untrustworthy or financially insecure company is more likely to cut corners to save money, which is reflected in the quality and longevity of the product. — U.K. customer
People are more aware of the behavior of those at the top of companies and want to trust in brands they select to be ethical. — U.K. consumer
Who you are determines what you do, and the kind of company you are will determine the kind of products you make! The quality of a product is very related to the company. — Chinese consumer
As we have often written, nothing touches the customer more than how she or he perceives your corporate image.
Which is why I reiterated in this week's Monday Morning Marketing Memo that the ultimate battleground for winning and maintaining customer relationships takes place in the minds, hearts, emotions, and perceptions of customers.
Companies and organizations that want to keep good customers will listen to what the customers above, and millions others around the globe, are saying about the importance of a solid corporate image and reputation in today's world.