Google tops the ranking with the best reputation among Millennials closely followed by Rolex and Walt Disney, in Reputation Institute’s (RI) 2018 Millennial RepTrak® report, the largest corporate reputation study of its kind. The study is based on more than 230,000 individual ratings from among the informed General Public across the globe, with 145 multi-national companies assessed.
With 1.8 billion Millennials globally, the study results come at a critical time as Millennials are set to comprise 35% of the global workforce by 20202, with a net worth of $24 trillion by 20253. Across the globe, the United States (Google, Walt Disney, Microsoft), Japan (Nintendo, Sony, Canon) and Germany (BMW, Adidas) are primarily home to the most reputable companies for Millennials.
The top 10 companies among Millennials worldwide in 2018 are:
- The Walt Disney Company
- BMW Group
Google rules, as Rolex takes second place
Google is crowned king in this year’s rankings, coming in as the only company with an “excellent” score. The tech giant displays great consistency with a top 3 ranking among both Millennials and the global public overall, while also coming in poll position in the latest RI CSR ranking. Luxury brand Rolex comes in second place, with a strong performance on Products, Leadership and Financial Performance while Walt Disney is placed third, scoring highly in CSR as well as in Leadership, and Performance – dimensions which are all disproportionally important to Millennials.
Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Chief Reputation Officer said: “Rolex’s connection with high-profile sports icons such as Roger Federer has paid dividends and elevated its reputation among a young audience. The embodiment of “success with integrity” makes Rolex an aspirational brand and enables it to forge a strong emotional bond with Millennials. Disney came second only to Google in the ranking for corporate responsibility and has done a superb job communicating their work around green energy and workers pay in a relevant way, with sufficient depth and sincerity.”
What matters to Millennials?
Products/Services are the most important single driver of corporate reputation according to the latest figures. Measures of Governance (-0.9) and Citizenship (-0.6) are slightly less important for Millennials vs. Non-Millennials, who instead view corporate financial performance (+1.1) as a key driver. This said, they still place huge importance (30%) on areas of corporate responsibility, but interestingly score reputation globally the lowest in this area, highlighting the opportunities that exist for companies who can improve their CSR performance and communicate this to Millennials.
CEO familiarity impacts reputation
The study results indicated an important role for strong corporate leadership in communicating corporate responsibility. There was a strong improvement (+10.7) in reputation score among those familiar with the CEO, yielding the highest reputation lift for companies in the UK, Australia, US and South Korea.
Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Chief Reputation Officer added: “CEO responsibility is a leading quality for most Millennials, highlighting their importance as the face of the company. To improve their reputation among Millennials, CEOs need to focus on conveying a sense of social responsibility and ethical behavior. The highest dimension lift among those familiar with CEOs are in the key dimensions of citizenship and governance – Google’s Sundar Pichai is a prime example of a CEO who has got this right and Google are clearly reaping the rewards as a result.”
UK Millennials view company reputation more favorably
While Millennials support for companies is on par with non-Millennials on a global scale, the study found that Millennials rate companies’ reputation very differently on a country level. There was no consistent pattern in generational differences in perceptions of corporate reputation, however Millennials in the UK, China and India perceive companies as much more reputable than non-Millennials. Interestingly, perceptions of reputation by Millennials vary by age and gender across the globe, except for Canada, with younger females scoring companies much higher than older males in the UK.
Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Chief Reputation Officer concluded: “What our study shows is that not all Millennials are created equally, and companies need to adjust the way they speak to them as a result. While there is a definite focus on products and services, governance and citizenship, Millennials today don’t shy away from financial performance, which is evident when we look at the position of Google and their financial clout. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for business’ today is improving corporate responsibility, which is gaining momentum all the time. Companies need to be progressive and show they care, otherwise they risk being left behind. When we consider that Millennials are set to comprise 35% of the global workforce by 2020, this is a reputational risk few companies can afford to take.”