A company that has a bad reputation experiences difficulty in attracting investment, receiving credit, promoting its own interests, and entering new markets. In Kazakhstan, one can note a tendency for companies to create special internal departments in which PR professionals are assigned to maintain this most “precious” asset. Reputation is a malleable and fluctuating concept, and only few companies can boast of a stable and positive image. In its third annual study of the “50 Best Companies According to Reputation”, Exclusive journal has researched how the reputations of the companies operating in Kazakhstan have changed.
We invited as experts, in accordance with our tradition, leading employees and managers working in the spheres of law, auditing, insurance, production, banking, pension and investment, advertising and PR, as well as in other applicable professions. They were asked to evaluate the reputations of companies by taking into account their personal points of view without paying attention to financial indices. After naming any company from any industry, the respondents graded them based on a scale of 0-5, in which the highest rating of “5” correlates with the best possible reputation. The criteria for evaluating reputation included competency in management, success on the applicable market, quality of products and services, attractiveness to investors, the creation of acceptable conditions for employees, capability of operating in crisis situations, and recognizable brand image.
For three weeks we conducted interviews with experts on the basis of anonymity. We also disseminated our questionnaire via e-mail. In total, we received 150 responses from experts working in various spheres. More than 340 companies were mentioned. The research methods in comparison with 2004 and 2005 have been slightly changed. This time, while tallying the responses on questionnaires we first of all took into consideration the number of times companies were mentioned during the interviews and in the questionnaires. The research group also combined the number of times a subsidiary company was mentioned together with its parent company.
As well, quantitative ratings on all designated criteria have been consolidated into an inclusive grade denoting the reputation of the companies. Despite the seemingly low average grade in reputation (as you can see in the table, none of the companies received the grade top grade of “5”), this does not prevent them from being included into the list of the best companies. All companies listed in the below table were at least mentioned by 1% of respondents. The research group at Exclusive journal is grateful to all who participated in the polling, and who contributed to the realization of the 2006 “50 Best Companies According to Reputation” study.
This year, financial institutions take the lead in the top 10 companies. Kazkommertsbank is in the leading position for the third year in a row already. Here we should note that its subsidiary company Kazkommerts Policy helped it to receive the highest number of mentions. Bank TuranAlem, together with its subsidiary companies BTA Mortgage, TuranAlem Securities, and Kurmet Kazakhstan, enabled it to take second place, with very little difference from the leader. Alliance Bank, along with its subsidiary company Alliance Policy, is in the third slot. ATF Bank and its subsidiary companies, ATF Policy and PPF Otan, placed fourth. Foodmaster Company, representing the food products industry took the fifth position. Sixth and seventh places were also taken by financial institutions, being Bank CenterCredit and Halyk Bank, being mentioned by 18.5% and 17% of respondents, respectively. The eighth position was taken by Astana Motors, an automotive dealership network, which recognition by 14% of respondents. Ninth place was taken by the cellular communications operator, GSM Kazakhstan, which works under the K-Cell trademark, and has in the past been present in Exclusive’s list of company rating by reputation. Finally, the tenth position is held by Vympelcom, a direct competitor of GSM Kazakhstan, which bought out Kar-Tel, and operates under the Beeline and K-Mobile trademarks, and has received acknowledgement by respondents at a mere 2% below GSM Kazakhstan.