A company’s sense of purpose plays a major role in its overall reputation, according to a new survey from Porter Novelli and Cone.
The 2018 Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Premium Index finds that purpose is one of the three key dimensions of corporate reputation, accounting for 13 percent of the total. While that’s less than the weight given to quality (65 percent) and vision (18 percent), the study’s authors stress its importance, saying that “when it comes to diligently building a reputation, every single point matters.”
The study uncovers a strong link between a company’s purpose score and its overall reputational rank. Amazon takes the No. 1 spot on both the study’s purpose premium index and its reputation index, with UPS coming in second on each list. Colgate-Palmolive and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are also in the top 10 on both indexes.
Survey respondents also listed the attributes of a company’s sense of purpose that they found important. Corporate responsibility (86 percent) was their first choice, closely followed by caring (85 percent), advocating for issues (81 percent), protecting the environment (79 percent) and giving back to important causes (73 percent).
The importance of purpose to consumers shifts with regard to demographics. Women who responded to the survey were 24 percent more likely to regard purpose as a “very important” element of a company’s reputation than men were. Democrats were more likely to stress purpose than were Republicans, and Hispanics and African Americans put a greater importance on purpose than did the population at large.
Differences in income and age, however, did not seem to have a big effect, with only those over 65 saying they did not think purpose was an important element of reputation.
In addition to boosting a company’s reputation, its sense of purpose can also have a dramatic effect on the bottom line. One-third of respondents said they would be more likely to try a product or service from a purpose-driven company. Companies with higher purpose premium index scores also tend to have consumer bases that are much more likely to follow content from those companies, regardless of channel.
The Porter Novelli/Cone Purpose Premium Index is based on the finding of an online survey of 6,000 U.S. adults (2,929 men and 3,071 women) conducted by Critical Mix in July 2018.