Reputation is key: Tracking companies’ civic image

Citibeats’ case study on how citizens view Spanish banks

A recent survey showed that three-fifths of chief executives believed public image accounted for at least 40% of their company’s value. According to Forbes: “Companies must treat their brand reputational value like any other asset.” In other words, a brand’s reputation with customers – or level of public trust – strongly determines how much business it does.

 

Consumers are talking

And in the twenty-first century, citizens expect more from corporations than ever before. This goes far beyond customers’ personal experience with a brand’s products or services. In the words of one commentator, brands need to “recognize that their social, economic and political agendas all contribute to the organization’s overall reputation.”

With the advent of digital, the flow of information is now clearer and faster. It’s easy for regular consumers to stay up to date on the business practices, civic activities and ethical track records of the brands around them. Users constantly discuss these aspects on social media, on blogs, and on news sites.

Reputation and Citizen Concerns, true listening. Citibeats

Citibeats lets companies listen

The problem is, it’s not so easy for brands to understand how users perceive them online. A full report on trends and issues in 21st century brand management concludes that, with “so much information available”, it’s not enough for corporations to simply acquire social media data – rather, they “need to continually interpret and turn this into useful ‘intelligence’ for their corporation.”  Without the right tools to make sense of what people are saying, brands can drown in a sea of online information – and fail to recognize the changes they need to make.

That’s where Citibeats comes in. Our machine learning algorithms analyze massive amounts of data (taken from social media or from a company’s own customer data) to pinpoint citizens’ biggest concerns. That means brands can easily track societal concerns and how they relate to their company, comparing customer sentiment across regions, time periods and urgency levels.

Banks and their reputation. Citibeats

Spain’s banks and their reputation

Over the past few years, a number of factors have led to high levels of citizen concern related to Spain’s banks – from the financial crisis, to many citizens’ problems repaying home loans, to the turbulent political situation in Catalonia.

If Spain’s banks truly listen and understand citizens’ worries, they can address these issues, making the entire civic consumer ecosystem a better place.

There are positive examples in this regard. A few years ago, Barclay’s bank in the UK managed to turn its previously negative reputation around, and perform a positive role in its society, by heeding its customers demands for transparency and reduced costs.

Reputation, Public Image for banks and companies. Citibeats

The case study

So, citibeats analyzed 25,000 citizen opinions , tracking mentions of the five largest banks in Spain every single week and connecting these to key societal issues.

 

Civic concerns were mainly focused on three banks of the five.

By monitoring spikes in sentiment, we discovered that one of the banks had a single big critical moment – a crucial time for reputation management.

Another bank was constantly mentioned in citizens’ civic concerns: indicating an ongoing and urgent need to understand its customers.

One bank benefitted from positive civic associations: citizens campaigned against the boycott of Catalan banks and showed their support for this bank.

But the same bank was the subject of strongly negative responses later, around the topic of housing evictions, with demonstrations against the eviction of residents who were offered loans by this bank.

 

By clearly understanding their role in civic concerns, banks and other companies can increase their positive role in the community and minimize negative social impact and negative brand reputation. citibeats connects companies with what their customers really think – to improve civic outcomes for everyone.

 

To read more on the banking case study, click here.