How Telefonica Builds Trust and Revenue Through Reputation

Case Study25 Mar, 2019

Eduardo Puig de la Bellacasa Aznar, the Director of Stakeholder Engagement at Telefonica recently sat down with The RepTrak Company CEO Kylie Wright-Ford to discuss Telefonica’s winning streak in corporate reputation—what that means, why it matters, and how it’s done. 

Telefonica is a global telecommunications company headquartered in Madrid with a dedicated communications team that focuses on things like sustainability, environmental concerns, corporate ethics, and employee digital well-being—all of which roll up to reputation— a term Eduardo and his team understand as being synonymous with trust.

He explains that earning trust is especially important in the telecom sector where conflict often exists between consumers, organizations, and government regulators. “People buy products from companies that are trustworthy, and to be trustworthy, you must have a good reputation,” says Eduardo. “We see a direct link between reputation and an increase in revenue for our company.” 

Identifying the people who matter most

While there are a variety of stakeholder groups critical to the continued success of Telefonica, Eduardo and his executive team are primarily focused on: clients, employees, and investors.

Earning trust with these select groups is universally good business practice and while clients and shareholders may seem obvious, it is the employee group that Eduardo sees many organizations leaving behind. 

At Telefonica, employees are viewed as the best ambassadors of the company’s products and services, consistently driving sales and referrals. A rigorous dedication to attracting and retaining talent drives success for clients and investors.

Key areas of reputational focus

Eduardo and the executive team at Telefonica have a heightened focus on building corporate credibility. Diversity and inclusion is a key part of their initiative, although by now so ingrained in the corporate culture that Eduardo dismisses accolades in this area, saying “diversity and inclusion is something every company should do anyway.” 

But not every company does. And not every company dedicates resources to building energy efficient products and services aimed at fighting climate change. Telefonica works with third parties to reduce Co2 emissions while focusing on global humanitarian efforts. They are committed to digital well-being—encouraging employees to disconnect from their devices and create healthy habits. 

While many companies talk about creating work-life balance, Telefonica has set a policy in place that invites employees—one of their top stakeholders—to live the company’s culture in a tangible way, every day.

How does Telefonica find pathways through (inevitable) bumps in the road?

Eduardo explains that part of his role is “gathering data and getting through bumps in the road.” What are those bumps? Things like connectivity problems, IT challenges, tightened regulations.

Telefonica navigates these bumps by leveraging RepTrak data and insights to provide “clear direction and country-level visibility on what [Telefonica] needs to work on and where,” says Eduardo. It delivers the “right diagnosis and an action plan to help us see month-over-month increases.” 

RepTrak provides an actionable roadmap that pinpoints in which business areas (workplace, leadership, products/services, citizenship, etc.) Telefonica is succeeding and where it’s missing the mark with specific stakeholder groups in specific global markets.

Telefonica then combines RepTrak technology with its own strategic communication solutions. With crisis communication cabinets proactively set up in each of its global markets, Telefonica is committed to transparency and prepared to communicate early, often, and accurately in the event of a crisis.

Corporate reputation as a KPI

Eduardo, and the Ethics and Sustainability leadership team at Telefonica are deeply committed to innovating in the areas of energy efficiency, sustainable products, and the responsible use of technology. 

To see this through, employees at Telefonica are invited to achieve non-financial key performance indicators. Among these: energy efficiency, diversity, and reputation, all of which are presented to the Board of Directors on a regular basis.

Reputation can be quantified by geographical region, business driver, stakeholder group. It’s a powerful metric and Telefonica is leading the charge. 

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