media update’s David Jenkin was there to see what it’s all about.

Reputation is difficult to define, tricky to measure, yet vital to protect. In an age of hyper-transparency, where word-of-mouth has been amplified through social media, reputation management is more important than ever.

Magna Carta’s Africa Reputation Index, undertaken in collaboration with marketing strategy consultancy Yellowwood, is geared toward the consumer mindset and is informed by consumers themselves.

“Reputation encompasses the legacy of professional integrity and trust of an organisation in the eyes of consumers, the general public and shareholders,” said Katherine du Plessis, data analyst at Magna Carta. It is formed through a complex exchange of multitude factors based on an organisation’s actions, behaviours, communications and relationships, she explained. It is shaped by a number of stakeholders – clients, employees and investors – and remains external to the company.

To create the inaugural index, a sample of 1 306 people were surveyed on 44 reputation drivers, grouped into nine over-arching attributes (such as customer service, innovation and integrity), across five industry sectors. The most influential of those drivers varies from one industry to another.

“If I had to ask you to tell me about corporate reputation comparing a bank, a hospital and a car manufacturer – these are totally different industries that play in totally different spaces, so you’ve already got different perceptions about what you need from them,” explained Du Plessis. “So by separating these industries into five different areas, we’re able to get really precise, clear ideas on what drives reputation in that specific industry.”   

What brands in Africa can learn

A range of insights emerged from this process, such as how in the public sector a good working environment is considered a key factor, owing to the fact that consumers want a clean and efficient experience. Value for money was found to be essential in the food and retail sector, but quality and cleanliness were also vital.  

“The strategic application of key insights drawn from robust measurement and analytical tools can limit reputational damage and its impact on the bottom line,” said Kalay Maistry, business unit head at Magna Carta.

Beyond South Africa

“It is not by chance that we are living in an era where the consumer has the power,” said Moliehi Molekoa, business unit head at Magna Carta. “The consumer is now more informed, they know what they want and they are telling us.” Magna Carta will be taking the index to the rest of the continent, she continued, starting in West Africa. “We have our partners in those markets who we are already in talks with, in terms of what kind of samples we will be looking into, and what kind of industries. The ones that we have looked at here were specific to South Africa in terms of what drives consumers in terms of reputation – it will be different from market to market. Whatever we come with will be suitable for that particular market.”

Companies can find out their own Africa Reputation Index score by requesting a custom report.

For more information, visit Alternatively, connect with them on Twitter.  

Read more about reputation management in Africa in our article, Managing Public Relations Across African Borders.