Banner Hero Managing Through a Crisis National Telecom with fullcolor picture


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:

  1. Stepping back from communications too heavily steeped in Products & Services content

  2. Instead, using Product & Services as the conduit to accomplish corporate actions related to Citizenship and Governance

  3. 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)

Key Learnings

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