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New Research Sends Community Message To Business

New Research Sends Strong Community Message To Businesses

Kiwis are more likely to think highly of companies which are reliable, caring and community-oriented, according to new research on our attitudes towards companies doing business in New Zealand.

The Fifth Wave of the Porter Novelli/NFO CM Research Study, Currents of Thought – A Compelling View of New Zealanders revealed the top three most admired companies in New Zealand are The Warehouse, Fisher & Paykel and Air New Zealand. They received overall scores of 7.3, 7.0 and 7.0 respectively on a scale, of one to 10. The average score for companies surveyed was 5.7.

Porter Novelli account director, Cassandra Orange, says the research clearly shows that New Zealanders favour local companies which offer consistent levels of quality in service and products, strong community involvement, successful innovation and a reputation as a good employer.

“Two out of every three Kiwis are more likely to think favourably about a company if it delivers on its quality promise. Air New Zealand is most admired for providing consistently good service.

“And nearly half of all New Zealanders strongly associate community involvement with companies they are likely to support. Notably, The Warehouse scored particularly high on its caring community attitude.

“In a world where a consistent standard of quality is almost a given, the key message for businesses seems to be; think global, act local. New Zealanders admire companies for “going for it” internationally, but we also want them to be part of where we live. In today’s environment, the clear implication for business is; clothe your brand in the communities in which you operate.

“These findings suggest that the profit-driven, hard edged commercially-oriented approach to business is outdated. Consumers are pausing to think about what stand a company or brand takes on the things they care about,” she says.

The research, conducted among 1000 New Zealanders in the past year, found that national pride also influences our feelings towards companies. Kiwis, as many as half of those in Auckland and Dunedin in particular, are more likely to favour businesses that are home grown. Admired companies perceived to have the strongest local roots include The Warehouse and Fisher & Paykel.

But perhaps as a reflection of the trend towards globalisation, less than 40% of young people are likely to care about a company’s local roots, with almost half rating companies highly for the strength of their international connections.

NFO CM Research managing director, Murray Campbell, says innovation is a key corporate attribute for 43% of Kiwis, and 37% say forward thinking in a company is important. Young adults are most concerned that companies demonstrate innovation and vision.

“Businesses known for their people practices also tend to be perceived in a positive light by 42% of New Zealanders. Wellingtonians are particularly predisposed to companies they regard as good employers.

Providing good returns to shareholders alone is not a key criterion for respecting a company. Only 18% of respondents rated good returns as an attribute strongly associated with admired companies.

“This tells us corporate reputation is becoming increasingly tied to a company’s total performance. It highlights the need for businesses to consider all their stakeholders - including the general public – not just shareholders when they make decisions or take actions that may affect their reputation and consequently their bottom line.

“In short, stakeholders are demanding higher standards of citizenship from companies.
For businesses to be truly seen as good corporate citizens they need to become involved in the local community in a broader number of ways than simple philanthropy. Community involvement must become a ‘strategic activity’ for businesses to succeed in today’s world,” he said.

The Fifth Wave of the Porter Novelli/CM research Study is the culmination of research conducted over the past year to provide a definitive view of New Zealanders lifestyle and attitudes.

Enquiries: Cassandra Orange, Porter Novelli 09 373 3786
Neil Green, Porter Novelli 04 385 2854
Murray Campbell, NFO CM Research 09 525 0934

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