ASK AFRIKA: Where reputation and trust get rated

2010-11-13 14:11

The annual Ask Afrika Trust Barometer has been providing a valuable report on the most trusted and admired companies and business leaders in South Africa since 2004.

Managing Director Sarina De Beer says: “The Ask Afrika Trust Barometer is a credible measurement tool where we engage with directors of the JSE listed companies to measure corporate trust and reputation in the South African market, it is a peer review. It is a totally independent and objective measure and is the only benchmark of its kind in South Africa.”

Other categories in the 2010 Trust Barometer include:
• Most admired business leader in South Africa,
• Most admired NGO/CSI,
• Most admired asset management company, and
• Most admired BEE company.

Furthermore, in literature reputation has been branded as a “mighty thing, worthy of nurture, deserving of praise” (Nakra, 2000).

In today’s competitive business environment, demands for initiatives, reducing one’s carbon footprint, saving costs and increasing productivity, as well as reputation management, has become critical survival tools.

Reputation management has many benefits. Therefore companies need to be pro-active and take a quantifiable approach to managing, measuring and monitoring reputation (King III Report, 2009).

The Trust Barometer 2010 has incorporated insights from the King III Report and current topics of discussion in the corporate environment to enhance the applicability of the benchmark and at the same time evaluate whether these aspects really have a significant impact on a company’s reputation according to SA directors.

Also, the Trust Barometer findings support literature on the fact that there is a direct relationship between the reputation of a company, the reputation of its CEO and the trustworthiness of the company.

The Trust Barometer is based on a peer review of 200 interviews. It measures the perceptions of CEOs, EXCO members and senior managers reporting directly to the EXCO of JSE-listed companies. In this way the results remain relevant through interviewing individuals who are experienced, exposed to business trends and who understand the challenge of maintaining a favourable reputation as well as the impact of the international economic downturn from a corporate
perspective. A differentiating factor of the Trust Barometer is that companies who are rated on reputation are nominated spontaneously by respondents. This implies that any company mentioned has already established its
reputation in the market, which allows for respondents to recall the company from the top of their minds.

The companies that are mentioned get rated on their reputation against reputation drivers as set out by the Fortune 500 Most Admired Company Review and the King III Report. Only companies being nominated repeatedly by the directors qualify for the prestigious list of most trusted and admired companies.

The Trust Barometer has been the preferred local corporate reputation benchmark since 2005 in that it is
relevant to the current local business environment. It provides companies with the opportunity to evaluate their reputation against current trends - local and international, and determine the impact of these trends on their reputation.

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