Nearly four out of five senior executives across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar consider their company’s corporate reputation as “extremely important” and this figure rises to 95% when those who ranked it as “important” were also included, according to our new report. Eighty two percent of those interviewed also said that their company’s reputation was linked to their bottom line and overall business success.

Released today, The Reputation Index draws on unique research undertaken in collaboration with the global opinion research firm YouGov. In addition to examining the importance that senior executives place on their corporate reputation, it also looks at the ways they assess their reputation, the factors they feel drive corporate reputation, who in a company has the most influence on reputation and the value of a strong reputation when facing a crisis.

Key report findings:

  • In order to assess corporate reputation, senior decision makers stated customer feedback mechanisms and customer face-to-face meetings as most useful.
  • 84% of senior executives “agreed” with the statement that a strong reputation can help a company recover quickly in a crisis.
  • When asked which factor – other than financial performance – steered reputation, one factor stood out clearly in all three markets: quality of management.
  • Findings were generally consistent across the three Gulf markets - with just one small exception. In Qatar, workplace culture and media commentary were seen as significant in driving reputation (alongside quality of management and leadership) while in the UAE and Saudi Arabia these two factors were seen as having less influence.

“Senior decision makers across The Gulf clearly recognise how important - and critical - a strong corporate reputation is in today’s highly competitive, highly transparent and fast moving business environment. This is especially true as the eyes of the world are increasingly focused on the region thanks to thriving business sectors and a booming overall economy – and as we gear up to hosting the Expo 2020 in Dubai. Reputation impacts all elements of business, from recruitment to re-financing – and this is appreciated by senior executives," said Sconaid McGeachin, President & CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Africa, Middle East & Turkey.

"Nurturing a solid corporate reputation is both an art and a science and the key drivers of building a strong reputation were an interesting element of the report findings. Senior executives felt quality of management and leadership steer reputation significantly. Other still important factors flagged were related to corporate transparency and ability to deliver on expectations.”

The research involved 422 C-Suite senior executives across The Gulf - over half were UAE based, 42% were in Saudi Arabia and 6% were in Qatar.

Download a complete copy of the report below:

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As public relations consultancies place increasing emphasis on revenue growth and cost management, should pro-bono partnerships with non-profit organizations take a back seat to billable client work?

The answer should invariably be a loud and clear no.

In its more than four decades of existence in Belgium, H+K Brussels has, on several occasions, taken the time to step back from its day-to-day business and assess how it could bring expertise and added value to the causes and organizations it supports. In the past 10 years, this includes the International Court of Justice for Sierra Leone, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the EU offices of the Red Cross, and the Belgian non-profit Constellations.

Even if the financial returns of projects developed with these organizations are virtually non-existent (pro bono work or offering largely reduced rates), the win-win results they bring to both the organization and H+K can deliver significant mutual benefit.

The golden rule guiding our work with these organisations is to treat them exactly like fee-paying clients, with the same professionalism, focus on quality and drive to succeed. Making the most of our experience, expertise and broad network of contacts, we have allowed our partners to achieve results and success they would have never been able to ensure on their own.

For instance, based on H+K’s strategic counseling, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, threatened with closure due to a lack of funds, was able to secure a $3.5 million donation directly from the European Commission. The European Commission also used this commitment to encourage EU Member States to pledge additional funds. In the years ahead of the final judgment in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in 2012, around $20 million for core funding was pledged by EU Member States, despite the global economic downturn.

More globally, H+K’s actions were able to change many minds among the non-profit organizations it worked with. Most strikingly, it showed that communications consultancy work can apply and bring much added value to any sector, including those often critical and reluctant towards external and private advice.

Simultaneously, H+K employees also gain from this work, through the need to view assignments through a very different lens: humility. When working for a charity organization, consultants are forced to take a step back and think outside of their usual corporate and business box. It obliges communications experts to put themselves in shoes they have rarely been in. And this brings them to be something they must be at all times: the voice, eyes and ears of the public opinion.

While communications consultancies’ advice to non-profit organizations helps them achieve results they would never have achieved through lack of resources and limited access to expertise, it brings as much to companies such as H+K: a priceless, refreshing and updated view on the world. This can then be brought back to the day-to-day business activities in order to improve what we do for our clients.

Joseph Lemaire, Account Executive, H+K Strategies Brussels

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