The state of the art of European digital corporate communications: Stakeholders are tipping the scales
Celebrating 21 years of the research, the European edition of Webranking reports on the current state of European digital corporate communications.
The research, conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend, evaluated 500 of the largest European companies included in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The results of this year’s research have been published in L’Economia in Corriere della Sera.
Stakeholders hold the powerful responsible
The 2017-2018 Webranking Europe research reveals that now, more than ever, stakeholders are calling the shots. What companies say online, and how people react to those statements, has the power to influence corporate decision making, drawing attention to areas of stakeholder discontent with the company. Movements like the #metoo social movement that exploded across social media and traditional media showcases the power that individuals have to hold those in power accountable for their actions and spur change. How a business conducts itself ethically, from its leadership to its governance procedures, becomes increasingly important here on out.
As companies become increasingly digital, and open themselves up to engagement via social media, the power their stakeholders have to not only interact with them, but also influence them, has risen dramatically.
Joakim Lundquist, CEO of Lundquist
Record improvements compared to five years ago
Celebrating 20 years, the Europe 500 Webranking research has come a long way. In the last five years, we’ve seen significant improvements, with the greatest increase in score this year since 2012. Compared to last year, the average improves by an impressive 3 points (45.7 out of 100), 9.1 points more than the 36.6 points recorded in 2012.
This year’s podium welcomes back the three top performers in last year’s ranking, albeit in a slightly different order. Snam holds firmly in the lead, with 94.2 points, the highest score ever achieved in Webranking. Eni moves up one position from last year’s ranking, clinching second place with 92.4 points. Finnish industrial goods and services company Wärtsilä takes third place this year, with 92.1 points. Terna is the best improver in Europe, increasing its score by 18.8 points.
Three macro trends stood out in the world of corporate digital communications in Europe:
Digital disruption is tipping the scales in favor of the individual, giving them a greater voice, changing the way we live and how companies communicate and do business. Game changers across many industries are provoking companies to transform the way they do business to such an extent that, in order to remain competitive, they must re-prioritise their communications around their digital channels.
Companies are increasingly pushed by their stakeholders to be more transparent on their governance structures and policies, and to take specific stances on sensitive topics, as accountability on actions becomes the number one priority across the Western world. These expectations are evidenced by current social movements rolling through the press and social media in waves.
In the social and digital era, excessive noise and the battle to stand out is a challenge for all companies competing for attention. Online communication can no longer ignore the rise of visual communication and the importance of user experience. In our survey of digital managers, we found that they are placing greater investment not only in technological advances but also in corporate storytelling, with 38% using it to take their mission a step closer to the users.
How Webranking can help you to improve
The Webranking analysis allows you to define solutions to improve your digital presence, understand digital trends, compare to peers, generate internal engagement, and identify pathways for future improvement.
For further information about the research, to receive the highlights with the score per areas and to order a tailored, interactive report, please contact:
Caroline Becker, [email protected]
Italy – Europe 500 country performance
Italy retains a strong presence in this years Europe 500 ranking, with 29 companies included the ranking. With eight companies breaking into the top fifty, and four companies in the top ten, making it the most represented country within the latter: Snam takes first again, while Eni moves up to second, with Generali in fifth, and Terna in sixth, while the rest of the positions are filled by Swiss and Finnish companies.
Companies Telecom Italia (18), and Prysmian (20) also find their way into the top 20 companies, while Leonardo (26) and Luxottica (35) make it into the top 50 and companies like ENEL (55) and Mediobanca (73) compose the body of companies that make up the top 100 in Europe.
Switzerland – Europe 500 country performance
Nearly 80% of the companies considered in the individual country research are also considered in the Europe 500 research (41 out of 52), meaning that corporate Switzerland is well represented in this year’s research. This high number of entrants in this year’s research, coupled with their relatively consistent performance, lead to a sturdy Swiss average of 47.4 points. Encouragingly, the Swiss average is nearly two points above the overall average of the Europe 500 research, which is 45.7.
The best Swiss performers this year were Swisscom (79.2), Sika (77.7), Sonova (76.9), Barry Callebaut (63.7), and Roche (62.3). Of these, all of them managed to make it into the top 50, while Swisscom (7) and Sika (10) placed among the top ten most transparent companies in Europe for stakeholder communications. These companies respond well to the changing needs of their stakeholders, setting the bar high for Swiss companies, though the rest struggle to keep pace.
Austria – Europe 500 country performance
Only one third of the Austrian companies considered in the individual country research are also considered in the Europe 500 research (5 out of 15). Though there are few Austrian companies included in this year’s research, their average score of 53.1 surpasses the overall European average of 45.7 points. In fact, four out of the five companies included in the European sample score above the European average.
Austrian companies like Erste Group, OMV Group, and Voestalpine, are communicating openly and clearly to their stakeholders, especially in terms of sustainability and governance, two areas of the research that are growing consistently in importance among all stakeholder groups, and in which they perform exceedingly well in comparison to the rest of Europe. These companies were also the best Austrian performers this year, with Erste Group earning 61.3 points, OMV Group with 57.4, and Voestalpine 56.9, all of whom managed to break into the top 100.