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Denmark top 100 – the year that was 2017

A new year has started and predictions abound – but it’s also an opportunity to summarize the year gone by. As we have done over the last year and a half, we summarized the public perceptions of Denmark’s 100 most prominent companies collected during the last quarter, and also compiled the full 2017 data. The results, as always, are interesting.

In comparison with 2016 many things have stayed the same: LEGO is still first and e-Boks is still second; iconic Danish companies like Danfoss, Grundfos, and Oticon are still some of the most trusted and liked in the country; and players in troubled sectors like financial services and telecommunication are still mostly ranked at the bottom of the list. But when we look more closely at the quarterly scores of each company, some surprising movements and patterns are revealed.

Video killed the radio stars

Clearly, DR is no longer just radio and TV2 is more than just television, but the reputational cat-and-mouse game between the two state-owned Danish broadcasters has taken a surprising turn: DR, which was once the unquestionable pride and joy of most Danes, has taken a serious beating to its reputation in 2017 – dropping by nearly 6 points. TV2, on the other hand, has improved by 1.4 points, putting it for the first time ahead of DR by a whopping 18 positions in the 2017 ranking. This reversal of image was thought impossible until not long ago – will it continue in 2018? Much depends on the political debate over the unloved license fee in Denmark.

Another giant falls

If Novo Nordisk was our nominated “icon that has fallen from reputational grace” last year – this year it’s Mærsk. The Danish shipping and energy giant had managed to maintain its reputation despite unprecedented financial losses in 2016, but as dramatic news kept coming in 2017 – its reputation could hold no longer. The splitting of the company into two separate companies, and the subsequent sale of its oil & gas activities to Total, have resulted in a consistent drop in its trust & affection score in every quarter of 2017. In Q4 A.P. Møller – Mærsk was ranked 47th in the top 100 list – down from 25th position in Q1. A fall from grace indeed.

What’s in a name?

Quite a lot if you ask Ørsted or the former DONG. The company changed its name in early November to signal the completion of its move from oil and gas to renewable energy. As far as public perceptions in Denmark go, this seems to have done the trick – the company’s trust & affection score has been rising consistently since then and it seems to be on track to move from the “low” reputation tier to the “average” one. It is still not in the upper half of the top 100 list, but as an energy company, it’s well perceived and has a positive trajectory.

Other movements

The above are just a few examples of the insights coming out of our daily tracking of prominent companies in Denmark. Some other patterns we notice are the rise of foreign discount retailers like Lidl, Aldi, and Rema 1000 – who have all done extremely well reputation-wise in Denmark in 2017 – and the significant strengthening of DSB’s reputation from Q1 to Q4 after many years of reputational troubles – possibly due to its decision to withdraw the much-maligned IC4 trains. You can read more stories about our top 100 ranking of 2017 in the Finans coverage (in Danish) or contact us for more information.

We will keep monitoring public perceptions, and keep sharing with you the most interesting findings. Meanwhile, we wish everyone a successful 2018 in both reality and perception!

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