APCO Worldwide has launched the first in a series of studies using the Return on Reputation Indicator, Founder and CEO Margery Kraus announced today. The new outcome-focused methodological tool developed by APCO Insight®, the company's opinion research group, will help companies better understand, protect and increase their reputation equity.
Relying on quantitative research among nearly 10,000 respondents, the Return on Reputation Indicator, for the first time, measures the affect of overall reputation on a number of specific business outcomes, including consumer behavior, community activism, policy support, the litigation environment, financial value and employee retention and recruitment.
The initial study using the Return on Reputation Indicator surveyed the retail sector. In partnership with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), APCO surveyed key audiences to measure industry reputation against business outcomes and uncover the core drivers that define the reputation of retailers. The results reveal that with a one-point increase in the retail industry's reputation:
• Annual spending by the average consumer increases $133 per year;
• An additional 94,600 community activists actively and vocally advocate on behalf of the industry;
• The proportion of policy-makers who support the retail industry on most proposals increases by nearly a percentage-point;
• An additional six million Americans are likely to give the retail industry the benefit of the doubt when crises arise;
• More than a half-million retail employees are likely to remain on the job;
• Market capitalization increases 0.4 percent for the average retailer.
Consistent with APCO's integrated approach to reputation management, the Return on Reputation Indicator also analyzes reputation across all key stakeholder groups, including consumers, community activists, policy-makers, investors and employees. The tool uncovers those drivers that are assets to a reputation as well as the opportunities that can improve a reputation most significantly.
"APCO's Return on Reputation Indicator proves a conclusion we've long assumed to be true - reputation directly shapes consumer spending, employee tenure, community support and shareholder value," said Kraus. "Meeting the ever-growing expectations of stakeholders is much more than a moral responsibility - it's a business imperative."
"Our reputation is arguably our industry's most important asset," said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. "We can no longer simply respond to challenges and issues when they arise. We must work to build a reservoir of goodwill that allows us to engage our stakeholders more effectively and productively over time."
APCO Insight plans to use the Return on Reputation Indicator tool to survey additional industries in the future. For more information about Return on Reputation Indicator and for detailed results of the retail study, please visit rorindicator.com/.
"Marketers have long understood the value and importance of building the brand equity of products and services, but brand equity only drives outcomes among one stakeholder audience - consumers," said Bryan Dumont, president of APCO Insight. "Reputation equity drives outcomes across all audiences, and as companies confront challenges that affect public confidence and trust and the ability to remain competitive in the marketplace, business leaders are looking for ways to influence not just consumer behavior but the expectations and perceptions of a variety of important stakeholder groups."
About APCO Worldwide
Founded in 1984, APCO Worldwide (apcoworldwide.com) is an award-winning, independently owned global communication consultancy with offices in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO clients include corporations and governments; industry associations and nonprofit organizations; and seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune's Global 500. APCO offers services related to business, industry and finance; media, public opinion and society; and government and public policy. The firm is a majority women-owned business.