Ketchum, B-M to use Fortune/Roper tool

NEW YORK: Preparing to launch their reputation measurement tool, Fortune magazine and Roper Starch World- wide found some powerful allies last week when PR giants Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum agreed to use it.

NEW YORK: Preparing to launch their reputation measurement tool, Fortune magazine and Roper Starch World- wide found some powerful allies last week when PR giants Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum agreed to use it.

NEW YORK: Preparing to launch their reputation measurement tool,

Fortune magazine and Roper Starch World- wide found some powerful allies

last week when PR giants Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum agreed to use

it.



The Fortune/Roper corporate reputation index will combine Fortune

magazine’s well-known but oft-criticized ’Most Admired’ survey with a

consumer element to provide what Fortune boasts is ’the most powerful

reputation management tool ever offered.’ Building on the survey of

10,000 executives, directors and analysts that forms the backbone of the

’Most Admired’ ranking, Roper has added a mail survey of 17,000 American

adults.



The methodology is similar to Fortune’s - ranking companies on eight

criteria - but Roper has tinkered with the questions to lessen the

financial emphasis. For example, instead of asking if a company makes

wise use of its assets, it asks people to rate its honesty with the

public.



’Conceptually it’s the same, but we modified the eight attributes to

some degree because they were not relevant to the general public,’ said

Roper SVP Brad Fay.



’Do consumers know much about financial soundness? Maybe not,’ added

Anna Gold, Fortune’s manager of new business ventures. ’But they do know

if it is a good place to work. We get to the same information in a way

they can understand.’



But NYU professor Charles Fombrun, whose Reputation Quotient launched

last year, claims that the Fortune/ Roper index does little more than

slap consumer opinion onto an already flawed survey: ’This is hardly a

revolutionary step forward in reputation management.’



Ketchum and Burson seem to think it is, however, and they have already

agreed to use the tool. While Burson’s chief knowledge officer Leslie

Gaines-Ross was unavailable for comment, a statement from the firm

confirmed that it has signed on. Ketchum CEO Dave Drobis could not be

reached by press time.



Fay said that other leading PR agencies are ’seriously considering it,’

and that the tool has attracted interest from over 100 corporations.



The pricing scheme is as follows: dollars 190,000 for the en-tire data

set, which includes every company Fortune tracks; dollars 60,000 for an

industry group ; and dollars 35,000 for a subset of an industry, such as

securities.



A portion of Roper’s consumer element is so-called ’influential

Americans,’ which Fay described as ’adults who are politically and

socially active in their communities.’ Roper has been working on a

corporate reputation tool for the past 18 months, but only hooked up

with Fortune last fall (PRWeek, November 8, 1999).





FORTUNE AND RQ: HOW DO THEY STACK UP?



Reputation Quotient: Harris Interactive interviewed 3,000 people, who

nominated companies with the best and worst reputations. Then, 10,830

people were surveyed to rate the 30 companies that rated best and others

that rated poorly. Twenty corporate attributes are classified into six

elements, such as emotional appeal and financial performance





Fortune/Roper corporate reputation index: Uses data gathered from the

’Most Admired’ ranking, which polls 10,000 business leaders on eight

attributes such as long-term investment value and employee talent. Roper

adds to that a mail survey of 17,000 consumers, where questions are

tailored to the general public.



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