The debut Swiss edition of .trust examined 35 of Switzerland’s largest private, state-owned and family-run businesses.
Each company’s ability to generate trust in stakeholders and to support the business through communications was assessed by examining their website, corporate social media channels and related Wikipedia article.
The evaluation measured companies on two fundamental aspects: Substance (assesses whether the company communicates transparently on topics that matter to stakeholders) and Distinctiveness (assesses the user experience, how the company presents its content and if it manages to convey its corporate narrative effectively).
The results of the first edition of our research are encouraging because they show that Swiss non listed companies are investing in digital communications as a lever for their competitiveness.
Our goal is for .trust to become a guide for companies choosing to use digital not as a way to present a glossy image but as a communications tool to support the business.
Inspiring Trust through Transparency
Expectations towards businesses from the public and corporate stakeholders continues to rise and the trend shows no signs of abating.
Encouragingly, most non-listed companies in Switzerland are presenting content that meets basic stakeholder needs: 77% of the firms evaluated passed our minimum threshold of 40% of the requirements in the Substance pillar to qualify for the next stage of the research, leaving only 8 companies that did not show a minimum level of disclosure.
When compared to the Italian market, which includes several well-known “Made in Italy” brands, the results become even more striking. There, almost double the companies failed to pass to the next level (41% of the 81 companies considered).
Strengths and weaknesses
Inspiring Trust through Leadership
It’s tough to capture people’s attention with a static, impersonal presentation. Despite this, many companies leave their corporate websites to gather dust and stuck in a set moment in time, demonstrating an inability (or is it unwillingness?) to evolve and open themselves up to the outside world.
Few of the non-listed companies we examined have a strong culture of transparency when it comes to presenting their business plan. While we might expect caution from smaller companies with less visibility, it is surprising that even the larger non-listed companies, active not only in Switzerland but also globally, prefer to keep their future vision and business strategy under wraps, rather than weaving it into their corporate narrative.
Strengths and weaknesses
Inspiring Trust through Storytelling
Stories, articles, videos and blogs: these are just some of the ways companies today are looking to go beyond traditional disclosure in their communications.
As the possibilities grow, we at Lundquist ask ourselves: how can storytelling contribute to a relationship of trust with users and stakeholders? How can stories and articles effectively contribute to projecting the distinctive elements of a company?
Considering we looked at a sample of non-listed companies, it is encouraging to see that well over two-thirds of the Swiss firms that we evaluated for this part of the ranking invest in stories, articles, blogs and other narrative content. This suggests that Swiss companies are seeing the benefit of moving beyond traditional disclosure and engaging in new means to communicate their business.
What topics are most commonly used in stories and articles?
The explainers are strong on meeting disclosure needs: they are upfront and transparent with their stakeholders when it comes to presenting the company and reaching out to clients. Engaging effectively with their audiences remains an issue, with facts and data taking the place of emotional connection.
Just over half of the companies that qualified for our Distinctiveness evaluation find themselves in this category. With a well-communicated corporate identity, these companies also maintain a strong presence in social media, providing informative and engaging content to stakeholders. Areas for improvement include offering a clear presentation of their strategic vision and presenting effective and engaging stories.
The companies included in this category provide the bare minimum to their stakeholders, lacking open channels of communication and doing little to engage their audiences. Content and messages stick to traditional disclosure and do not covey a distinctive corporate identity.
Relatively few companies fall into this category. They perform well when it comes to offering a positive user experience but have difficulty in presenting an effective corporate narrative and strategic vision of the company.