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Tata Motors tops Nielsen’s Corporate Image Monitor study

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Tata Motors, Aditya Birla Group, Bharti Airtel form the top three in the Corporate Image Monitor

ITC, Tata Motors, Aditya Birla Group and Hindustan Unilever are the corporates seen most actively involved in CSR activities

Tata Motors tops the latest round of the Nielsen’s Corporate Image Monitor survey, that measures the reputation of leading corporates basis certain attributes. Aditya Birla Group, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries Limited and Tata Steel follow to round off the top five. Tata Motors also scores high for innovative techniques, providing reliable products & striving for excellence, and has emerged ‘Best in Class’ amongst respondents on these attributes. 

Nielsen’s Corporate Image Monitor measures perceptions of the image and reputation of India’s leading companies, across sectors and serves as an important indicator of the strength of the corporate brand.  With over 1700 respondents, consisting of stakeholders such as policy makers, influence groups, the financial community, investors, top level management across corporates, and the general consumer, the Corporate Image Monitor is now in its 11th year. 

New entrants into the top ten list are ITC, ICICI Bank and Hero MotoCorp Ltd., while Tata Steel & Wipro have dropped from first to fifth and fourth to seventh respectively,compared to the previous year. 

“The Corporate Reputation Index is a testament to a brand’s reputation, by people that matter most to it. For stakeholders, this implies they feel the brand is reliable, and sustainable in difficult times” said Dinesh Kapoor, Executive Director, Nielsen India. 

Attributes of the Corporate Image Monitor 

The strongest elements driving corporate reputation are what it offers to the customers- i.e. its service levels and its product quality. Across all stakeholder segments, these parameters are seen to have a strong influence in the assessment of an organization’s reputation. Other factors that are important are financial performance and its talent pool. 

Further to this, certain ‘excitement factors’ such as Innovation, pace of growth & the extent of media visibility also play a subliminal role in shaping reputations. These factors though are not directly cited by stakeholders as influencing reputation. However, deeper analysis reveals that firms which perform well on these aspects generally tend to have stronger reputations. 

Respondents also outline ‘hygiene’ factors or attributes for a company such as ‘vision’ or ‘leadership’ as ‘must have’ image drivers for a brand. And further improvements on these aspects do not have any impact on the overall image of the brand for the stakeholder. 

According to the study, corporates that have more resilient brands do so because they are able to build perception around factors that various stakeholders such as the general public, investors, policy makers and managerial talent consider important. 

“Stakeholders’ perception of a company, is a critical factor for its sustained growth. And Nielsen’s survey finds that companies do create a strategy that enhances their business needs, and their corporate image to continue to garner stakeholder confidence.” said Kapoor. 

The survey has further found that corporates with comparatively better financial performance, and better returns for shareholders, create a positive perception amongst stakeholders. 

Corporate Social Responsibility 

The extent of involvement a corporate has in giving back to the society also plays a significant  role in shaping the reputation of the company for certain stakeholders. Over one in five respondents indicated that ITC Ltd and Tata Motors are the corporates seen most actively involved in CSR activities. This followed closely by Aditya Birla Group (20%)  and Hindustan Lever (20%).

Further, the respondents surveyed were of the opinion  that the top activities that Indian Corporates are involved in are infrastructure for health (76%), fighting critical diseases (72%), educating disadvantaged societies (70%). 

According to the respondents of the survey, the areas which the corporates should look to step up are provision of clean drinking water & sanitation, protecting the environment, better educational infrastructure and alternative energy are high on the list of stakeholders. 

“The stakeholders also indicated that there is disconnect between the social activities that a corporate is involved in, as against the expectations that is off them. So while companies who initiate and participate in CSR activities are in the limelight, the expectations that their stakeholders have off them are also high, said Kapoor. “In shaping company reputation, social responsibility and the returns that a company gives its stakeholders are becoming an increasingly important” he added. 

About Corporate Image Monitor

The Nielsen Corporate Image Monitor is an annual syndicated study conducted by The Nielsen Company. It is designed to track the reputation of the leading Indian companies and provides actionable insights that help companies build their corporate brand. In its eleventh year, the Corporate Image Monitor covers the top listed companies of India across industries. The selection of companies for the survey is based on – Market Capitalization, Sales & Assets. Taking a simple average, a single score is calculated for each company and the final list of companies is drawn up. A few additional companies were added on the basis Nielsen’s internal assessment. Nielsen Corporate Image Monitor 2011 represents the views of 1788 people from different walks of life across the top seven metros. The Nielsen Corporate Reputation Index is a singular measure which encapsulates the performance of different corporates on 24 attributes. It takes into account the importance of each attribute in contributing to reputation.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.