With the uncertainty of 2020, many industries saw rapid changes to their reputation, but few saw changes as dramatic as the pharmaceutical Industry. As is true of many industries, Pharma’s top reputation driver has historically been its Product and Services. Given the number of years that Product has maintained the top spot and the fact that it was top across all industries, no one was expecting Product to drop in importance, especially in Pharma where the Product can truly be the difference between life and death. Of course, given that it is 2020, the Data Science team at RepTrak knew better than to assume the old wisdom still held true.

In a recent analysis, RepTrak’s Data Science Team found that as early as November 2019, Product lost first place to Governance, and by January and February, Product and Governance frequently shifted in terms of importance. As the world came to grips with the full horror of COVID-19 in March-May, Products remained the most important driver of Corporate Reputation. With the onset of the reality of COVID-19, in June, Governance overtook Product and remained the top reputation driver through the end of September:

pharma_gif_2.0

One of our Data Science team’s hypothesis is that Products remained the top driver through May 2020, while the public’s main concern was if a vaccine was going to be months away or years away from being developed. Come June however, several pharmaceutical companies began human trials of their COVID-19 vaccine, and concern shifted from would a vaccine be created to whether its safety would be compromised for speed.

In another interesting finding, both Leadership and Workplace increased by .7% between March 20th and September 20th. This indicates that like with Governance, the public expected Pharma to show Leadership by focusing on safety and not bowing to political pressure. At the same time, the increased importance of Workplace also indicates that the public not only expected Pharma companies to create safe and effective vaccines quickly but that they also wanted a safe environment for their employees to do so.

What’s Next For Pharma’s Corporate Reputation?

While the Data Science team’s commitment to rigor prevents us from ‘crystal-ball-predicting’ future outcomes, our proprietary machine-learning modeling indicates that we may expect to see these dramatic shifts continue, especially as the results of the current Phase III Trial vaccines are released, vaccines are brought to market, and if they can convince the public that they are safe.

How should Communications leader at Pharma companies prepare for continued change in their Reputation? It all starts with quantitively measuring your reputation and using data-backed insights to proactively tackle your weaknesses and shoring up your strengths. You can click here to learn how.