REVEALED: SA companies with the best reputations

Johannesburg – Dairy group Clover has the best reputation among the South African public, according to a reputation study.

The study was conducted via an online survey by the Reputation Institute and the Reputation House and is known as the RepTrak® Pulse 2017. It measure’s a company’s overall reputation based on people’s immediate emotional perception. The study has been running since 2006 and covers 50 companies.  

The 2017 study covered eight industries and included companies with at least 50% familiarity with the public.

The study shows how strong the emotional bond is between the company and the public. “Reputation is important, because it drives supportive behaviour and through support of its stakeholders allows the company to achieve business results,” the report said.

Peoples’ perceptions of a company are built through three channels. These include direct experience such as buying a product or service or contacting customer support. Other channels include what a company communicates through its marketing material as well as newsletters and website. Perceptions are also based on what others say, which includes word of mouth, media publications and expert opinions.

Overall Clover, which entered the study in 2016, retained its top spot with a score of 80.3 out of 100. Contenders in the top 10 include Coca-Cola (79.5), Pick n Pay (77.6), Nestle (76.7), FNB (76.3), Woolworths (75.8), Spar (75.6), Old Mutual (75.2), Discovery (72.7), and TFG (The Foschini Group) (72.4).

Retailers Woolworths and Pick n Pay swapped rankings, with Woolworths dropping from third to sixth place, and Pick n Pay climbing to third place. FNB climbed from seventh to fifth place. Mega retailer Massmart fell out of the top 10, while Discovery and TFG entered the top 10.

Leaders of industry include Clover for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, Pick n Pay claimed top spot for retail, FNB led among the banks with Absa placing last, Old Mutual placed first among diversified financial services, Engen leads in the oil, gas and lubricants industry. Santam tops the short-term insurance industry and Vodacom leads among telecommunications, however Telkom lags in this industry.

State owned enterprises were at the bottom of the barrel, with South African Airways ranking at 43, Transnet ranked at 46, the South African Post Office was at 48, followed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and Eskom placed last at 50.

The study shows that governance and good practice has risen in prominence as a driver of reputation perceptions. This indicates that the public is concerned about whether a company is fair in business, behaves ethically and is open and transparent, said Dr Dominik Heil, chairperson of Reputation House and the founder of Reputation Institute South Africa.

“In the face of a turbulent political environment, the corporate sector in South Africa is enjoying enhanced levels of trust.

“This trust is increasingly predicated on companies being transparent, fair and ethical.”

Products and services is still the biggest driver of reputation, the study shows. Overall reputation scores improved from 2016 results. “On average the emotional bond the general public have with corporate South Africa has strengthened,” the report said. 

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