NEWS4 September 2018

Business reputation falls post-Carillion collapse

News UK

UK – Reputation in UK business has fallen 9% in the past year but people want businesses to take more of a stance on public issues, according to the latest business reputation tracker, Everyone’s Business.

Brand reputation abstract image

With research conducted by Opinium, the Porter Novelli and Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) business reputation tracker found that nine out of 10 people want businesses to take a public stance on key social issues such as data protection and gender pay gap.

The 9% fall in those thinking the reputation of UK business is good ( 56%) compared to last year’s tracker findings, comes following high-profile business failures, such as the collapse of Carillion. Business reputation declined in 10 out of the 12 regions in the UK. 

However, the research did find that public knowledge about the contribution of business had increased ( 54%) and there was an improved public perception of business leaders (up 10% since May last year).

Almost three quarters ( 72%) of the public are prepared to champion companies which stand up for what they believe and challenge politicians.

In conjunction with this, the CBI has published an employers’ guide to help firms think about their role and behaviour in supporting the communities they operate in and to protect business’ reputation.

Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general, said: “While complicated arguments about customs and regulations won’t set many pulses racing, the public do want to hear more from businesses about the issues that impact their lives. Speaking out can be tough and firms will need to decide when and how they do this, but it’s clear there is public appetite to hear from them.

“Yet there’s no hiding from the hit caused by the likes of the collapse of Carillion, which has seen the reputation of business fall by nearly 10% within a year. This makes it even more important for businesses to focus on what matters – being good for their employees, customers, communities, investors and suppliers.”

Adam Wilson, associate director at Opinium, added: “Trust is the foundation of any long-lasting relationship; and our research has highlighted just how important it is to businesses. A series of revelations and scandals throughout the year has seen a breakdown in trust between consumers and businesses. Actions, and not just words, are what consumers want.

“In the age of Brexit and political uncertainty, many are relying on businesses to steady the ship. Publicly taking a stance on key social issues would not only bridge the divide between business leaders and the public, but also work to rebuild the reputation of businesses that have taken a knock since last year.”