Parent company reputation as important as brands

NEW YORK: Most executives at multi-brand corporations believe a strong parent company is as important as individual product brands, according to a study from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

NEW YORK: Most executives at multi-brand corporations believe a strong parent company is as important as individual product brands, according to a study from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

Three-quarters (75%) of executives said a parent company's reputation is just as significant as those of its individual products, according to the third installment of the “Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust” study. Among single-brand company executives, 92% recognize the importance of parent company reputation relative to strong product brands.

“It's important to disclose who the parent company is, and promote it as a brand in its own right,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber. “Being as transparent as you can be is very important and helps place a halo over the product brand.”

Still, many multi-brand executives fail to recognize the effort consumers make to get to know parent companies. Sixty-nine percent of multi-brand executives said more consumers are researching to learn about the companies that make products, compared with 85% of single-brand executives.

It's not surprising that single-brand executives are more aware of consumers' research since the parent company and product brand names are the same. Yet  multi-brand executives should be more cognizant of how proactive consumers are, Gaines-Ross said.  

“Consumers are really out there with their detective hats on,” she added.

Only 52% of multi-brand executives communicate about their workplace's culture, for example, while 73% of single-brand leaders do. Factors such as how a company treats employees are more important than ever in managing reputation, Gaines-Ross said.

If a parent company has a good reputation, it should promote that, she added. Parent companies should have corporate social media channels in addition to platforms for individual brands.

“Even though we all live in a world of hyper social media and awareness of its impact, for some multi-brand companies, social networking is not as advanced,” Gaines-Ross said. “Make the best use of social media channels to engage consumers, because they're looking for info.”

Overall, both multi-brand and single-brand executives are increasing their efforts to build reputation, Gaines-Ross said.

Weber and KRC surveyed 1,375 consumers and 575 senior executives at companies with annual revenues of at least $500 million. Respondents were located in the US, UK, China, and Brazil.  

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