Mind the Gap: New Fleishman-Hillard Research Shows an Authenticity Gap for
Companies Across the Globe
Research Illustrates What It Takes to Be an Authentic Leader and How 20
Industries Are Performing Today
ST. LOUIS -- April 18, 2013
Fleishman-Hillard today unveiled the results of its signature Authenticity Gap
study, exploring the gap between what consumers experience from companies and
what they expect of them. The research identifies the behaviors consumers most
associate with authentic companies and where organizations can make changes to
improve their reputation in the minds of consumers.
“We looked across the industry and saw a lot of different reputation studies
out there, but none was giving the C-suite very actionable insights into what
they could do to change their reputation in the minds of various
stakeholders,” said Marjorie Benzkofer, global chair of Fleishman-Hillard’s
reputation management practice. “We designed the Authenticity Gap research to
offer a new framework with unique insights in 20 different industry
categories. We are stepping out beyond traditional reputation research to ask
not just what consumers are experiencing with companies today, but also what
they expect from them.”
Fleishman-Hillard and London-based research partner Lepere Analytics focused
on the growing struggle companies face in closing the gap between the brand
they project and the reputation and perceptions they actually hold in the
minds of their audiences.
“When brand and reputation are not aligned, it creates a gap that damages an
organization’s credibility and authenticity,” said Dave Senay, president and
CEO of Fleishman-Hillard. “We are continuing a conversation about authenticity
that was started by the Arthur Page Society and giving C-suite executives
actionable, company-specific insights they can apply to their business and
communication strategies to create the kind of engagement that drives business
The Authenticity Gap research studied 20 industry categories in the United
States, Germany and China. While there are reports with insights specific to
each of the categories, these are some of the global headlines:
*For every brand studied, there is an authenticity gap – a gap between
people’s expectations of the industry category and their actual
experiences of the company or brand.
*When asked about the behaviors of authentic companies, consumers
identified nine drivers that can be grouped in three essential strands:
management behavior, customer benefits and society outcomes. The research
showed that for consumers, attributes related to corporate behavior
(management behavior and impact on society) matter as much as those
associated with customer care.
*There is no such thing as a global market: consumer expectations in
virtually every one of the 20 categories studied differ from country to
*The categories that appear to have the greatest momentum in meeting
consumer expectations are: online shopping, major appliances, tablets and
e-readers, and pharmaceuticals. Those with the weakest momentum are
vacation and travel, Internet service providers, and wireless carriers.
These seven categories appear consistently in the top/bottom 10 across all
The research uses a patent-pending methodology developed by Lepere for polling
“expert consumers.” Flipping the traditional recruitment methodology, Lepere
identified expert consumers who have a high level of interest, knowledge,
engagement and influence in the specific industries they were questioned about
in the survey. This validated approach provides much richer insights than
simple man-on-the-street polling done in other surveys.
Fleishman-Hillard is launching the research in conjunction with its new Center
on Reputation & Relationships, which will host insights and workshops from
luminaries across the industry on topics related to brand and reputation. A
broad look at the research is hosted on the site and includes commentary today
from Janet Robinson, former president and CEO of The New York Times Co., James
O’Rourke, professor at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of
Notre Dame, and Roger Bolton, president of the Arthur Page Society.
The Center offers visitors a look at some of the 20 different industry
categories studied in the research, insights from leaders in the industries
and the opportunity to pull additional industry- or company-specific reports.
“The research identifies nine behaviors consumers said were important in
shaping their perceptions about a company,” Benzkofer said. “Mapped against
these nine drivers of authenticity, it is remarkable to see how results vary
so dramatically for each industry and country by country.”
About Lepere Analytics
Lepere Analytics is an independent research firm whose data forecasts company
reputation and revenue. The methodology is US Patent Pending, is independently
validated and is used by Wall Street investment analysts and portfolio
managers. Lepere Analytics was founded in 2007. It is a privately held
company, registered in the UK with partners based in London and New York.
Polling is conducted for Lepere Analytics by Ipsos – the world’s third largest
research company with operations in 84 countries. Online panels are in
compliance with International quality standards ESOMAR and AIMRI and certified
on key ISO standards.
Fleishman-Hillard Inc., one of the world’s leading strategic communications
firms, has built its reputation on creating integrated solutions that deliver
what its clients value most: meaningful, positive and measurable impact on the
performance of their organizations. The firm is widely recognized for
excellent client service and a strong company culture founded on teamwork,
integrity and personal commitment. Based in St. Louis, the firm operates
throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin
America through its 80 owned offices. For more information, visit the
Fleishman-Hillard website at www.fleishmanhillard.com. Fleishman-Hillard is a
part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.
About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC)
(www.omnicomgroup.com), manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of marketing
communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate
through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving
international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.
About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc. (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and
corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous
specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying,
digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public
relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in
more than 100 countries.
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Steve Naru, 212-453-2228
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