Purpose Is a Key Driver of Overall Reputation, According to New Research by Porter Novelli and Cone

Amazon, UPS top list of Purpose-driven companies
Nov 14, 2018 10:15 AM ET

NEW YORK, November 14, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Purpose is one of three critical dimensions of overall reputation, according to the 2018 Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Premium Index: How Companies Can Unlock Reputational Gains by Leading with Purpose. The study, examining consumer perceptions of the top 200 companies in the U.S., also finds Purpose and Reputation are intrinsically linked.

The research revealed there is a strong correlation between Purpose and Reputation as these scores moved together for nearly nine out of every 10 companies (88%) ranked. In fact, of the top 10 leaders named on both the Purpose and Reputation lists, four companies landed on both lists – Amazon, UPS, Colgate-Palmolive and Alphabet. The top 10 Purpose-driven companies, according to consumers, included:

  • Amazon
  • UPS
  • Community Health Systems
  • Disney
  • HP
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Cardinal Health
  • Alphabet
  • Kraft Heinz
  • Colgate-Palmolive

“As we’ve seen repeatedly in 2018, corporate reputation is painstakingly curated, carefully protected and easily lost. When it comes to reputation scores, every point up or down matters to both the consumer and also affects long-term business performance and value,” says Justin Greeves, Executive Vice President, Global Research & Services, Porter Novelli. “The Purpose Premium is the extra reputational boost a company gains by leading with Purpose and edging out its competitors in a world where what a brand stands for increasingly matters to the consumer.”

Reputation driven by Quality, Vision and Purpose

To better understand reputation, the Index was aggregated into correspondent elements under three overarching dimensions: Quality, Vision and Purpose. Quality represented the largest portion of overall reputation, accounting for 65 percent. Elements of the Quality dimension included reliability, security, trustworthiness and affordability. Vision accounted for 18 percent of reputation, under which consumers prioritized categories such as innovation, profitability and creativity.

Purpose is the final major dimension of reputation. Comprising 13 percent of a company’s overall reputation, the Purpose Premium, can boost overall reputation to edge out competitors and build vital brand affinity among consumers.

Americans believe it’s important for companies to act responsibly – and give back

Consumers want companies to act, care and advocate. When it comes to what Purpose attributes are most important to reputation, Americans prioritize companies that are:

  • Responsible (86%)
  • Caring (85%)
  • Advocates for issues (81%)
  • Environmental stewards (79%)
  • Philanthropic (73%)

“Purpose itself is a multifaceted concept in the eyes of Americans,” says Alison DaSilva, Executive Vice President, Purpose and CSR, Cone, a Porter Novelli company. “As we peel back the onion, we see consumers first expect companies to operate responsibly. However, they also want to know that companies truly care – and this means advocating for issues that are important to them, as well as supporting social and environmental causes.”

Americans more engaged, more willing to try Purpose-driven brands

Not only do Americans think well of Purpose-driven companies, they are also willing to reward them in a number of ways. Companies with a higher Purpose ranking compared to their laggard peers will reap greater benefits, as consumers are:

  • 1/3 more likely to try a new product/service
  • 50% more likely to switch to a new product offered
  • 50% more likely to support a move of that company into their community

Purpose leaders will also benefit by cultivating more engaged audiences. Consumers are significantly more likely to consume content from companies with higher Purpose rankings. They are:

  • Nearly twice as likely to have read social media posts from higher Purpose-ranked companies
  • Two times more likely to have read or skimmed their annual report
  • More than two times more likely to have read or skimmed their sustainability report

“We see from these findings that Purpose is a way of communicating shared values with stakeholders and getting a business benefit at the same time. A company is not just judged by what it makes or how much it makes, but also by how it conducts itself in our society,” says Greeves. “We intuitively knew this but now we can demonstrate its true impact and show companies how to lead the way on the many dimensions that matter.”

To learn more about customized reports for America’s top 200 companies, including a comprehensive overview of the Purpose Premium Index model, as well as performance scores for an individual company and up to four other firms included within the study, contact Justin Greeves at Justin.Greeves@porternovelli.com.


About the Research

The 2018 Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Premium Index presents the findings of an online survey designed and executed in July 2018 among an online sample of 6,000 Americans, including 2,929 men and 3,071 women, ages 18+. The study was fielded by Critical Mix and the data are weighted in aggregate by age, region, income, gender and ethnicity to be nationally representative. The margin of error associated with the total sample is ± 1.27 at a 95% level of confidence. The sampling of America’s top 200 companies is based upon the Fortune 200 list, compiled annually by Forbes Magazine.

About Porter Novelli

Porter Novelli is a global public relations agency born from the idea that the art of communication can advance society. Over 45 years ago, we opened our doors – and people’s eyes and minds – for brands driven to make a positive impact. Today, we are a global agency with the entrepreneurial spirit of boutique specialists. We continue to build that bridge between purpose and business imperatives, and believe that a healthy bottom line can also make a remarkable impact. For additional information, please visit www.porternovelli.com. Porter Novelli is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.

About Cone

Cone is a public relations and marketing agency that is Always Making a Difference℠ for business, brands and society. We help organizations define their authentic Purpose, weaving it into the brand DNA to both grow the business and positively impact the world. Our deep subject matter expertise in Purpose Brand Strategy, CSR, Social Marketing, Social Impact and Brand Communications creates breakthrough work and unforgettable experiences to ignite action around issues that matter. Cone is a Porter Novelli company and part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.