Corporate reputation: What do consumers really care about?

  • Page G
  • Fearn H
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Do consumers really care about corporate reputation when it comes to
purchasing decisions? This study tests that hypothesis by comparing
consumers' perceptions of companies to the consumer equity of brands
owned by those companies, using international studies of brand equity
and corporate reputation. The results show that poor corporate
reputation makes building strong brands difficult, but a good reputation
is no guarantee of success.
The elements of corporate reputation that seem to matter most to
consumers in practice are perceptions of fairness toward consumers, and
perceptions of corporate success and leadership, rather than public
responsibility. Consumers want good business practice but when it comes
to brand strength and purchasing, more personally relevant factors take
precedence. So pushing a corporate social responsibility agenda to
consumers may not reap the strongest rewards. But ``ethical{''} brands
that bring no penalty in cost or quality are likely to be more

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  • Graham Page

  • Helen Fearn

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