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Anthony Swain

Italian Companies at the forefront of European digital transparency

Italian companies at the forefront of European digital transparency

Companies’ relationships with key stakeholders are changing, as both investors and the general public place greater importance on transparency. The Webranking study provides the lens through which companies can measure how well they are responding to this evolution of stakeholder needs and expectations.

What we saw this year was that Italian companies made significant improvements in comparison to the other companies included in the Europe 500 research, using their digital platforms to respond to evolving needs more effectively in hopes of catching the eye of foreign investors. The annual study evaluates the 500 largest European companies per market capitalization taken from the Stoxx Europe 600 index.

Ten years ago, only three Italian companies were included in the top 20, whereas this year we see six companies in the top 20, four of which even make it into the top 10. The results of the Italian companies in the European study have been published in the Italian weekly Economia del Corriere della Sera. Find out more about the performance of the European companies here.

Italian companies lead the European research

Year on year, Italy retains a strong presence in the Webranking Europe 500 research, as Italian companies have dominated the top 10 over the past five years.

Of the 29 companies included in the ranking, eight companies break into the top fifty, and four companies in the top ten, making Italy the most represented country in the latter: Snam takes first place again, while Eni moves up to second, with Generali in fifth, and Terna in sixth. The rest of the top 10 is made up of Swiss and Finnish companies. Telecom Italia (18) and Prysmian (20) find their way into the top 20 companies, while Leonardo (26) and Luxottica (35) make it into the top 50. ENEL (55) and Mediobanca (73) are two of the 29 Italian companies that make it into the top 100 in Europe.

As more and more companies begin to understand the value of effective communications with stakeholders, they become more interested in maintaining a strong digital presence. In turn, this improves their standing with international investors, and makes them more competitive in an international market. When it comes to the most improved companies in corporate stakeholder communications, three of the top ten most improved companies in the research are Italian, underpinning the country’s attempt to reposition itself in the international market. Companies like Terna (+18.8 points), Leonardo (+17.4 points) and A2A (+15.8 points) set the pace, making the greatest strides toward offering complete communications to international stakeholders.

Comparison between Italian and total European performance in the Webranking Europe 500

  • Italy
  • Europe 500

Italian average score improves

On average, Italian companies were able to increase their total scores this year by 4 points – a great leap forward considering the European average improved by 3 points.

In following with Italy’s leap towards the top, the average score of the Italian companies achieved this year is an impressive 52.8 points, which is well above the average recorded from the overall European ranking of 45.7. The significant difference between the European and Italian averages and quick rate of improvement serve as an example of the renewed importance Italy places on stakeholder satisfaction via digital channels, and that it is only moving forward in this regard.

Across the board, Italian companies scored better than the total European average in almost every single section of the research, in some cases by more than 10 percentage points. Curiously, the only area within the research in which Italian companies underperform in relation to the overall European 500 average is the Features and functionalities section, which measures the page loading speed and the efficiency of internal search engines. Thus, in terms of content presented, Italian companies hit the mark, though the way in which they communicate this through their digital channels – what we at Lundquist call the storytelling technique – could use some work.