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Top companies hold key to success

Top companies hold key to success

New Zealand’s top companies earn the respect of Kiwi consumers by delivering quality, building relationships and being good employers, a new study reveals.

The latest NFO/Porter Novelli Currents of Thought research study shows these attributes continue to attract New Zealanders when ranking the companies they most respect. It updates a study undertaken in 1999.

“These companies have the mix right,” says Porter Novelli managing director, Malcolm Boyle. “They look after the critical elements of delivering consistent quality, ensuring corporate visibility, meeting the needs of employees and emphasising their New Zealand identity. It’s a winning formula.

“To win public respect, a company’s core business must deliver quality goods and services. But they can enhance their standing by developing strategies which emphasise their origins and help them interact with their communities. This study shows that this is what consumers value and respect.”

Compared with the 1999 survey, the top three companies, with an average score out of 10, were as follows:

Company Most Admired

Score out of 10 (2002)
Score out of 10 (1999)

The Warehouse


Hubbard Foods


Cadbury Confectionery


The Warehouse retained its position as the nation’s most admired company, being most popular with people 50+, who awarded an average rating of 7.6 out of 10, and couples with no children at home, who awarded it 7.7 points out of 10.

Hubbard Foods ranked second with a score of 7.1 out of 10, up from 5th in the 1999 survey. It is mostly admired by those people aged 50+ and older couples with no children at home, each group of respondents awarding an average rating of 7.6.

Cadbury Confectionery ranked third with a score of 6.8 points out of 10, up from a ranking of 4th in the 1999 survey. It is mostly admired by people aged 18-29 years, who awarded an average rating of 7.0. Young couples with no children think highly of Cadbury Confectionery, awarding an average rating of 7.1 out of 10.

The most dramatic change in company ratings went to TelstraClear, who, as Clear Communications in 1999 scored a commendable 6.3 points out of 10, dropped to 5.0 points in the current survey, a drop of 20.6%,

By contrast, Sky Television registered the most impressive rise in respect, moving up 7.8% from 5.1 points in 1999 to 5.8 in 2002.

We also asked people why they admired these companies. The following attributes are seen to be key (the rating in brackets indicates the percent of people surveyed, in 2002 versus 1999, who indicated they admire these companies for the following key attributes ):

- A consistent level of quality service and products (73% vs. 68%)

- Involved in the community (49% vs. 45% )

- Perceived to be a local company (43% vs. 43%)

- Reputation as a good employer (40% vs. 42%)

A new attribute, corporate stability, was rated fifth in 2002 at 38%.

The average score for companies in 2002 was 5.8 points out of 10, up 1.8% from 5.7 points in 1999, which suggests an increasing level of satisfaction with corporates. The rating for Air New Zealand was given before the re-launch of the “new” airline.

NFO managing director Murray Campbell said “the most important finding is the apparent swing from style toward more substance, particularly with the 18-29 age group”.

The last Corporate Reputation survey was conducted in 1999, at the height of the dot com and internet boom. “Since then, there’s been a shift in what people value. The companies we admire haven’t changed, but our reasons for admiring them have.

“Qualities such as innovation and forward thinking were seen to be less significant by people aged 18-29 years. However, innovation isn’t dead as a desirable attribute - it’s just that the promise of innovation isn’t enough. Youth is looking for more substance,” Mr Campbell said.

“People aged 18-29 years tend to be more pragmatic and more realistic about their future. Their OE has become less about having fun and seeing the world and more about making money and paying off debt. They admire wealthy and successful New Zealanders who are recognised for their achievements both locally and globally,” Mr Campbell said.

Currents of Thought is a proprietary study undertaken by leading market research company NFO New Zealand Ltd and New Zealand’s largest public relations company, Porter Novelli New Zealand. The survey is conducted as part of the NFO New Zealand Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. The Context diary runs in 10 waves each year and interviews 1000 New Zealanders every 5 weeks, a total of 10,000 people. This survey was conducted in April/May 2002 amongst 1000 respondents.


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