A company’s reputation is one of it’s greatest assets. In a diverse, global marketplace like the internet, reputation becomes even more important. With so many potential companies to do business with, a company’s reputation may be the deciding factor on which link they click first or where they ultimately decide to buy. A recent report from Nielsen proves just how much a company’s reputation affects business and consumer opinion.
The 2014 Global Reputation Study with Opinion Elites by Nielsen is based on surveys from nearly 5,000 consumers in late 2014. The study found that consumers are becoming increasing concerned about factors such as a company’s sustainability initiatives, social media efforts, tech savviness, where it’s located or how it treats employees. The reputation a company builds on these issues can drive consumer behaviors.
“While factors like price, availability and selection are often big drivers along the path to purchase, there’s no denying the importance of a company’s reputation,” the company wrote in a press release announcing the research. “In fact, reputation is increasingly being recognized as a fundamental business asset that companies can leverage to maintain and drive increased business.”
Online reputation has grown in importance as all around the world customers are doing more to learn about businesses. The Nielsen researchers noted that two out of three (66%) of adults in developed markets actively try to learn companies they do business with. In emerging markets, where there are a lot new businesses sprouting up a less oversight, consumers are even more active. Three out of four (76%) consumers in emerging markets actively search for info on a company.
For the purposes of this study, “developed markets” refers to markets in the United States, Canada, Korea, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. The “emerging markets” consisted of Mexico, Brazil, China, India and Russia. Needless to say, some of the countries in the emerging markets would argue about thier classification.
The study provided a lot of evidence for the power of social media to help shape that opinion. Nearly half (47%) of adults in developed markets increasingly learn about companies they do business with via social media. Interestingly, the study suggests that 71% of adult consumers in emerging markets feel the same way, so social media is almost twice as effect for business marketing in those markets.
Social media also has a lot of trust with the people who use it or research. The study found that 29% of adults in developed markets trust what they hear about companies through social media more than information they see elsewhere. This means that about 62 percent of the people who use social media in developed markets to research companies trust that research most of all. , And like before, emerging markets show a higher regard for social media, with 59% saying they trust social media most.
The researchers also showed why this matters, especially to American business owners. The study found that 54% of American adults who follow business issues closely have decided against doing business with a company because of how it conducts itself. The sentiment is less strong globally, where only 37 percent say they chosen differently.
This research paints a clear picture that a company’s online reputation matters greatly. Consumers across the globe are actively looking for information on a company and they’re going to social media in order to get it. For more information on how online reputation affects revenue, read this article about a Nielsen study on how consumers behave based on social issues in business.