As the sunshine fades and temperatures begin to drop in the end of this third quarter, so does the average Trust & Like Score for the 100 most prominent Danish companies. Despite a growing average reputation for these companies over the previous four quarters, they are beginning to witness a bit of looming pessimism. Whether it’s the weather, recent headlines or rising oil prices, warming up the hearts of stakeholders may be a key strategy moving into the fourth quarter.
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The Bank Tank
The Danske Bank money laundering scandal continues to make headlines, and the impact of this story on the sector’s reputation seems to be evolving. The bank’s reputation has now fallen to a new all-time low score of 37.8 – an unusually dramatic drop of more than 10 points in one quarter – ranking it at #98 on the top 100 list, still above L’Easy (which has also dropped significantly this quarter) and PostNord. However, while other banks had previously benefitted from the scandal and witnessed significant improvements in their reputations in Q2 – now most are seeing a significant pullback: Nordea, Arbejdernes Landsbank and Nykredit are feeling the hit, while Jyske Bank and Sydbank manage to be the only ones breaking the trend. It seems the scale of the scandal is leading to increasing scrutiny amongst stakeholders within the financial industry overall, meaning that proactive measures to reassure these stakeholders may be imperative. Amidst the chaos, one player in the sector seems to be charting its own path entirely: Nets, the payment service provider, has chalked up a reputational rise of 2.7 points, completing a remarkable 16-point improvement over the last 12 months – lifting its rank from #78 in Q3 2017 to #23 now, tying with Carlsberg Group. Nets’ reputational recovery journey over the last 12 months has been consistent and impressive, and suggests the company is now perceived more as a digital service provider than a financial one.
Differentiation making the difference
While the overall Danish market appears to be witnessing a pullback in optimism, differentiation looks to be paying off on the industry level. Taking a closer look within the media industry, there is a significant downward trend this third quarter. Traditional print media brands appear to be hit the hardest with Aller Media dropping by over 5 points this quarter; Berlingske Media and JP/Politikens Hus suffer a similar fate, while even DR and Egmont are starting to feel this pullback, too. Surprisingly, TV2 is managing to differentiate itself, growing a large online news audience, and in turn seeing a significant increase to their reputation, moving up to rank #21.
It is not only the media industry where differentiation appears to be paying off. The telecom industry is also witnessing a significant decrease across the board in terms of reputation, with Telia and Three both dropping significantly. This time it’s the industry leader, TDC, that managed to differentiate itself to become the only mover within the industry experiencing any reputational growth – which may be the result of the recent appointment of a new CEO.
Two other noteworthy companies that are bucking the pessimistic trend this quarter are Falck and A.P. Møller-Mærsk, both of whom continuing their recovery from last year’s reputational troubles.
The Norwegian reign wanes
The Norwegian retailer Rema 1000 has been dominating the top of our reputation ranking in Denmark for some time, but this quarter it has reached its highest score yet of 79.1, becoming the country’s second most trusted & liked company. However, it’s another player from the neighbor to the north whose power waned this quarter – Europe’s favorite new low-cost carrier Norwegian. While the airline has kept winning awards and accolades, the media coverage of its rising debt and financial troubles has apparently had a large impact on its reputation – which dropped by 8.7 points and 26 ranks to be positioned at #76. This is an interesting example of how a company’s reputation is not only affected by customer experiences – but also by the company’s financial stability.
Proactive measures paying off
Last but not least, we come to an interesting tale on the changing fortunes of H&M: in the beginning of this year the fashion retailer sparked worldwide controversy over the ‘Monkey Hoodie’ incident, causing the company to fall 11 places in rank down to #65 of Denmark’s top 100 companies in Q1. The fashion label took quick proactive measures to sincerely apologize, recall the hoodie and hire a diversity leader to promote inclusiveness within the brand. As H&M continues to stay dedicated to making amends for their mistake, it seems sincerity doesn’t go unnoticed. This third quarter, the Swedish fashion brand has finally recovered, rising 15 places to #45, surpassing even their 2017 Q3 ranking. It seems that quick, sincere actions are essential, but steady dedication wins the race.