In the past few years, businesses as well as government—in India and around the world—have taken a beating in terms of public perception. Has the perception changed? Are corporations seen to be only focused on their own profits or are they perceived to play a larger role in nation-building? To answer these and more questions, Burson-Marsteller, in partnership with CNBC, has unveiled the results of a major global thought leadership survey: The Corporate Perception Indicator.
This is a landmark survey and it provides a whole new way to understand the state of corporate reputation worldwide, exploring the hopes, fears and expectations of both the general public as well as senior business leaders about the performance of businesses and their CEOs.
Conducted with our sister firm Penn Schoen Berland, with sample developed by another WPP firm, Kantar, this survey reflects interviews in 25 global markets with 25,000 individuals in the general public and 1,800 senior corporate executives. The results provide an in-depth corporate compass that points in the direction of even deeper public engagement by corporations and their leaders about their essential roles in building the economy and improving society.
Before I go any further, let me give you the good news: the survey shows that the reputations of corporations and their leaders are, indeed, showing strength. I am especially delighted to note that the Indian public and business leaders believe that corporations are playing a positive role in job creation, economic growth and social responsibility. In my opinion, corporations and government must work together to take the nation forward and to continuously build on the trust that citizens place on them.
The survey provides cues to us on where we need to focus our attention if we want to continue on the upward curve of perception. In India, both, the general public as well as business leaders see corporations as a source of hope and believe that it is a good thing when corporations are strong and influential because they are the engines of innovation and economic growth. This is not an assumption to take lightly. It also means that if corporations are not careful, their actions can have an adverse impact on the overall pace of innovation and growth in the economy.
Another area that corporations have to keep a keen focus on is their role as responsible corporate citizens, looking beyond just immediate profits to leave a larger impression on their stakeholders. In India, 87% of business leaders and 77% of the general public believe corporations have become more socially responsible over the past decade. Indians also have a strong appetite to hear more from corporations about social responsibility. With the Companies Act in place, the time is right for corporations to take decisive steps towards more socially responsible practices and initiatives.
I have always believed that the CEO is the true captain of the ship and he or she must steer it ahead with a vision and a strong set of values. The survey also shows that people in India look to CEOs as amongst the top most powerful and respected people in the society, giving them a position of leadership. The respect and power must be balanced and communication with stakeholders is critical for the CEO.
There is, therefore, much to cheer about in the results of this survey and a lot to ponder over. The Corporate Perception Indicator is a corporate reputational compass that will help us choose our direction ahead. It is up to us to use it wisely.
You can read more about the survey and its findings here.
CNBC and BURSON-MARSTELLER reveal results of first-ever CNBC/BURSON-MARSTELLER Corporate Perception Indicator