It’s the basics, stupid.

RBS is back in the news, with more questions about its reputation and past banking practices. It is a timely reminder that when it comes to reputation: it’s all about the basics. At the risk of sounding like a Vogue commentator (‘basics are sooo in this season’), it’s important to remember that some things run deeper than fad.

Earlier this year we presented with Teneo Strategy some fresh consumer data on what exactly is driving reputation, using their The Society Brand model. This model takes into account all aspects of corporate reputation, and measures the contribution of each individual factor into the overall Society Brand score, answering the simple question: ‘what really matters to our reputation’?

Unsurprisingly, given the title of this blog, the research shows… that it’s all about the basics.

The biggest drivers of Society Brand scores were core attributes like: does the company take care of its customers? Does it create quality products and services? Can it be trusted to do what it says on the tin? For financial services organisations, this included fundamental attributes like being financially secure and making a profit, helping to support the economy and being a good long-term prospect.

All these attributes were more significant in driving reputation of banks than others that are often seen to enhance corporate reputation, like the extent to which they manage their environmental footprint or support charities and good causes.

So what do you do? Reputationally, you need to start with the fundamentals of your company – what it does and who it impacts. With these insights you can begin to plot your strategy and actions. Of course addressing the basics is often a hard and difficult process, but one that’s far more likely to increase positive sentiment than trying to do ‘good deeds’. And given there is a strong connection between reputation and business performance, focusing on the basics is also helpful in delivering on the bottom line too.

For more information about the report and our data, please contact us.