LONDON—While the business benefits of a good reputation are wide-ranging, most comms teams remain measured on media coverage, according to a new UK study.

The PRCA/YouGov study polled 114 agency and in-house professionals. Unsurprisingly, this group believes that a good reputation has a wider impact than just media coverage, with 92% pointing to the ability to attract and retain staff, ahead of more positive media coverage (87%).

Other business benefits of an enhanced reputation include:

  • Greater likelihood of receiving the benefit of the doubt from stakeholders if reputational damage incurred (75 per cent)
  • More effective marketing / sales activity (75 per cent)
  • Higher quality commercial partnerships (65 per cent)
  • Greater influence on Government (65 per cent)
  • Higher sales levels (64 per cent)

Three-quarters of respondents, furthermore, that corporate boards clearly see a link between corporate reputation and financial performance.

However, 83 per cent of respondents admitted that their comms teams are still measured on how much positive media coverage they were able to generate, far higher than any other metric. The research also found that journalist criticism remains a sensitive topic for senior managers, with only three percent of respondents in strong agreement that their leaders care less about negative journalist feedback than they used to.

This focus on media approval appears to be in direct contrast to the involvement with social media, where 42 per cent of respondents admitted that they were ‘weak’ compared to their competitors or client’s competitors.

“The findings suggest that we’re on the brink of a sea change in the role of communications professionals” said Tony Langham, vice-chairman of the PRCA’s PR Council.

“There is wide appreciation that a strong reputation achieves more than just positive media coverage and enhanced marketing – it also delivers better quality staff, the benefit of the doubt from stakeholders and greater clout with Government. The person at C-suite level, who really gets it, is the person who matters most, the CEO.”

“The only worrying sign in the survey is the under-investment across the British industry in crisis planning and in social media," added Langham. "As a consequence though, both areas offer competitive advantage to those organisations that do invest”.