Managing Through a Crisis: National Telecom
Reputationally, this national telecom company lagged behind competitors for several years and partnered with RepTrak in Q4 2019 to close the gap. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in Q1 2020, the company suddenly faced outsized expectations across all aspects of its business – particularly in network performance. At the same time, their internal communications team was in the midst of re-structuring. The business needed to pivot its communications strategy to serve long-term reputation goals while also addressing volatile and immediate needs of key stakeholders amidst a global crisis.
Our client launched a communications strategy centered around doing and saying the right thing with three themes at its core:
Stepping back from communications too heavily steeped in Products & Services content
Instead, using Product & Services as the conduit to accomplish corporate actions related to Citizenship and Governance
Embracing a broader array of activities to execute on Citizenship and Governance efforts
Market Impact: The company regained 47% of COVID-19 related share price losses during the last three quarters of 2020 to close out the year on an upwards trajectory
Workplace Recognition: Named one of the country’s Top 100 Employers in Q4 2020
Business Environment: Increased public trust relative to competitive set
A healthy meal, a safe place to call home, and opportunities for kids to grow and learn – these most basic needs are out of reach for too many [citizens], especially now … All of the money will be donated in 2020 so we can make as immediate an impact as possible.
Announcement for multi-million-dollar community donation
How They Did It
A. Identified which reputation Drivers most positively impact the company’s global reputation – these were (by rank order):
Governance, Products & Services, and Citizenship
B. Isolated the worst-performing factors, which were primarily responsible for negative perceptions, to focus on. They were:
Fair and ethical business
Positive influence in society
Meets customer needs
Offers products & services that are good value for the money
C. Took action to help citizens during COVID-19:
Donated one million meals to food banks
Refrained from suspending services for patrons in financial distress
Installed free TV and internet services in family shelters across the nation
Postponed a scheduled price increase set to occur in Q1 2020
Waived long distance phone calls & roaming charges
Enabled free access to a selection of family-friendly and news TV channels
D. Moved the needle on RepTrak KPIs. Between H1 and H2 2020:
Reputation Score +10 points when respondents were aware of COVID-19 help
Global Reputation Score +3 points overall
8 CSR perception metrics +4 points each, on average
Public perceptions of Telecom provider as “greedy” lowered -5%
Rational perception improved across all seven Driver Scores with Innovation, Citizenship, and Workplace experiencing the greatest lift (+3 points each)
Transforming a corporate communications strategy and team takes time – but there are incremental wins to measure and celebrate along the way.
Our client is still in a transition year. Nonetheless, reputation improvements made during 2020 have helped close the gap between this telecom company and its leading competitors – and also widened the gap between other contenders
Doing and saying the right thing, particularly during a hard year, is good business.
RepTrak metrics illuminate white spaces for future campaigns.
For our client, significant improvements on CSR Drivers illuminate an opportunity to develop a stronger narrative to connect community & social impact back to the company’s purpose