We’ve been eagerly looking forward to releasing our first annual Reputation Ranking for Germany’s DAX 30. We can now finally unveil the most trusted and liked German companies of 2018 and share with you all some key insights into 2018’s biggest movers.
Our first analysis at the beginning of 2018 revealed the most reputable German companies scored exceptionally well for quality and innovation – however had room for improvement in terms of relevance, integrity and differentiation. Now that the year is over, we look into which companies took note and which may have missed the boat.
It seems Siemens has taken a step up with its recent investment plans of €600 million in the German capital, capturing the hearts of the German public as the industrial manufacturing conglomerate takes 1st place as Germany’s most Trusted & Liked DAX 30 company of 2018. Not far behind, sportswear giant Adidas fell a little out of balance during Q3 but managed to make the right cut coming in 2nd for the year with their continued innovation like the Speedfactory and focus on sustainability. At 3rd place Europe’s and Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa shows how continued focus on quality and stakeholders can bring attitudes to new altitudes – despite rising fuel costs, strikes and the messy Air Berlin integration (and the negative impact they’ve had on profitability).
A question of integrity
The German automotive supplier Continental takes the spotlight as our top riser for 2018 (+5.1 points), making its way to secure its position as the 4th most Trusted & Liked company in Germany – tied with BMW. This rise is most likely linked not only to the company’s consistent focus on product quality and innovation – winning The German Design Council’s German Innovation Award for the 8th time – but also due to its business transformation in line with the industry’s move towards electric and self-driving cars. From tackling environmental challenges and recently receiving an award for carbon reduction, to stakeholder engagement to drive sustainable sourcing, all the way down to improving corporate culture with their global flexibility initiative and recognition by Forbes for the third time as one of the best employers of 2018; Continental’s 360° stakeholder focus may have helped boost its record of integrity and consequentially, public perceptions.
One of the world’s largest steel producers, ThyssenKrupp, also raised perceptions (+4.5 points) through applying innovation to tackle relevant issues and in turn, increase perceived authenticity and integrity. With solutions like Oxyfuel’s ability to capture CO2 during cement production and the Carbon2Chem turning emissions from steel production into resources, it’s no wonder ThyssenKrupp was awarded by the CDP for being one of the world’s best companies in climate protection for the third time in a row.
However, integrity isn’t just about signing up to help stop climate change. Financial services provider Allianz (+4.6 points), recovering from the costliest year ever for the insurance industry in 2017, reported itself to the ASIC for misleading customers and admitted to their mistake with honesty. The company didn’t wait for the watchdog to call their bluff, but owned up to the mistake and committed to compensating customers. What could have turned into a PR nightmare, turned out to be an example of how integrity doesn’t go unnoticed.
On the other hand, Deutsche Bank may have learned just how much a lack of integrity can hurt perceptions. It seems committing to save the environment isn’t enough in the midst of on-going misconduct and scandal surrounding the Panama Papers. Comments like that of Jimmy Gurulé, a former US assistant attorney general who is a professor of criminal law at Notre Dame Law School (“they are not genuine and sincere about changing this culture of noncompliance”), may indicate a general sentiment of the bank’s inauthenticity and lack of integrity which could have been behind its slide to the bottom of the charts – in the ranks with Germany’s most love-to-hate landlord, Vonovia.
Speaking of which, Vonovia had its own episode this year as growing unrest over rising rent prices led to protesters taking to the streets. The company was under scrutiny by tenants for profiting off their recent ‘modernization’ renovations which caused rent prices to increase more than energy savings. Perhaps using a just cause to profit at others’ expense is a perfect antonym to integrity as the company fell 4.9 points over 2018. And as rent prices rise, Merck’s decision to relocate jobs overseas couldn’t have come at a worse time – possibly contributing to its slide by 4.2 points in the Trust & Like Score in 2018.
Stay tuned as we release our quarterly results for Germany’s DAX 30 companies throughout 2019 – and as always, feel free to send us your comments or questions!
ABOUT THE STUDY
The results are based on Caliber’s real-time tracking study that measures public perceptions of the DAX 30 companies in Germany on a daily basis. The scores underpinning the ranking are based on the average responses to 2 separate questions presented on a 1-7 scale: to what extent respondents trust and like each company. The scores are then normalized into a 0-100 scale without any weighting or adjustments. The 2018 results are based on more than 12.000 evaluations coming from more than 1.800 unique respondents in the period of 17 May to 31 December 2018, representing the German population along key demographic indicators. As the data is collected on a daily basis, rather than on an ad-hoc basis as is often the case in comparable studies, results can be seen as reflecting all news and activities that occurred throughout the measured period. All results shown in the DAX 30 ranking can be further broken down on age, gender, geography and professional background of respondents (e.g. profession, seniority, etc.).