STOCKHOLM, 21 October 2014 — Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm with a strong presence in the Nordic market, today launched a Nordic corporate reputation study revealing that companies with a clearly defined Corporate Purpose have a competitive advantage in the Nordic market. More than two-thirds of respondents believe that CEOs should have a strong external profile, and Corporate Purpose and vision were identified as the issues CEOs should be most concerned about both inside and outside of their organisations. Consumer facing sectors such as manufacturing, technology, food and drink, and retail top the Nordic Purpose & Performance Index. Danish companies are seen as having particularly strong leadership among Nordic stakeholders.

Burson-Marsteller commissioned research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland to survey more than 4,500 people in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Nordic Corporate Reputation Study identifies the key drivers of corporate reputation in the Nordics and ranks the top 100 Nordic companies across a range of metrics from trust and responsible behavior to innovation, leadership and financial performance. For comparison and benchmarking purposes, a number of leading international companies were included in the research. The resulting Purpose & Performance Index shows that customer service, treating employees well and engaging with local communities are all key drivers of trust and help turn Nordic customers into brand advocates.

“The findings in the Nordic market confirm our research on corporate purpose in Europe and globally,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East & Africa and Global Chief Strategy Officer. “At a time of continued economic uncertainty, companies that succeed in defining and communicating their corporate purpose have an advantage when it comes to building trust with stakeholders Corporate purpose drives business decisions, and Nordic consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services from a company that they view as responsible. It is also worth noting the important role of leadership and the profile of the CEO, which contributed to the strong showing of Danish companies in the ranking,” Galbraith continued.

The study makes clear the link between economic challenges and corporate responsibility. There is a perception that companies do not pay their fair share of taxation and the demand for companies to give back to society in other ways is high across all Nordic countries. In Finland in particular there is a perception that companies do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Norwegian company Tine tops the Purpose & Performance Index. Only one Swedish company, Volvo, makes it into the top 10 of the ranking. Danish companies – including Lego, Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg and Arla – make a strong showing in the top 10. Finnish leaders include SOK/s-Ryhmä, Valio and KONE.

For benchmarking purposes the study also included international and Nordic companies from key sectors. Whereas Nordic companies are generally seen as strong on purpose-driven metrics such as trust, the non-Nordic brands score better on performance-related metrics like innovation and financial performance.

Among the survey’s findings:

Top 10 Nordic Companies: Tine, Lego, Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg, SOK/S-Ryhmä, Norsk Tipping, Valio, Arla, Kone and Volvo.

Corporate Responsibility: A company’s values are important for the Nordic consumer who is willing to pay a premium price for a product or service from a company he or she views as responsible. A quarter of Nordic consumers say they have advised someone to use or buy products from a company because it has acted responsibly.

CEO Reputation: Two-thirds of the Nordic public believe that the CEO should be the public face of a company and that CEOs need to have a strong profile both internally and externally. Corporate purpose and vision were identified as the issues CEOs should be most concerned about both inside and outside of the organisation. Danish companies are seen as having particularly strong leadership among Nordic stakeholders.

Sustainability More than the Environment: Nearly 80 percent of stakeholders across the region say that they are concerned about the environmental impact of companies. But for a company, sustainability is more than just being environmentally friendly. Good working conditions, local community contribution, less focus on quarterly earnings and more of a long-term view on financial performance are definitions of sustainability.

To download a copy of the Burson-Marsteller Nordic Reputation Study please visit www.bmnordic.com

For more information on the findings or to get the full list of companies included in the research, please contact:
Sara Alsen
Managing Director, Strategy, Nordic Region
sara.alsen@bm.com
t +46 76 1107057

About the Research
Burson-Marsteller commissioned leading research firm Penn Schoen Berland to undertake an online quantitative survey of 4531 people in the Nordic region between July and September 2014. Quotas were set for gender, age and region to ensure that the sample is representative of each population. Respondents were asked what is important to them in their roles as consumers, employees, investors and not least citizens. They were also asked to rate leading Nordic and international companies across a range of metrics from trust and responsible behavior, to innovation, leadership and financial performance.

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 85 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services network. For more information, please visit bm.com.

Burson-Marsteller has wholly-owned offices in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.

About Penn Schoen Berland
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a member of Young & Rubicam Group and the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy that specialises in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate and entertainment clients. PSB’s operations include over 200 consultants and a sophisticated in-house market research infrastructure with the capability to conduct work in over 90 countries. The company operates offices in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dubai, Delhi, Miami, The Dominican Republic and Denver, which are supported by an in-house fielding capability and are fully equipped to provide the complete creative solutions PSB clients need. For more information, please visit www.psbresearch.com.

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