Research Tops The Holmes Report List

In a look back at the past year’s 12 most interesting “expert knowledge” articles, industry publication The Holmes Report listed FleishmanHillard’s “Authenticity Gap” study as No. 1. The study, carried out by FleishmanHillard with Lepere Analytics, builds on Lepere’s Expert Stakeholders™ methodology to explore the gap between what consumers experience from companies and what they expect of them. The research, which initially covered the U.S., Germany and China but was expanded to include the U.K., identifies the behaviours consumers most associate with authentic companies – and where organizations can make changes to improve their reputation. Launched in April 2013, the study also examines nine drivers of authentic engagement.

As described by Holmes:

‘1. Authenticity Gap

The social media age has created a new emphasis on authenticity, given consumers and other stakeholders a platform from which they can call out companies that fail to live up to expectations. The FleishmanHillard “authenticity gap” study explores the gap between what consumers experience from companies and what they expect of them, identifies the behaviors consumers most associate with authentic companies, and—perhaps most important—suggests areas in which organizations can make changes to improve their reputation. Equally interesting, the study identified nine drivers that can be grouped in three areas: management behavior (doing the right thing, consistent financial performance, credible communications); societal outcomes (employee care, community impact, and care of environment); and customer benefits (offering products or services that deliver better value, customer care, innovation).’