Perception Audit Benefits for Companies
By Simon Watkin, Principal Market Connect Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Too many companies have the same problem. They come to me in frustration and bewilderment as to why their share price is not higher or why they do not have more customers. They think they are under-valued, but they don’t understand that there are non-financial factors that will continue to impact sentiment towards them and how they are perceived by stakeholders. Unless these perceptions are understood and addressed, companies will continue to languish behind their peers.
The Market Connect Perception Audit is a research product that I have designed to provide an accurate view of how a company is perceived across a range of key areas by its influential stakeholders. It identifies the non-financial factors and sentiment issues affecting the share price or performance of a company.
We have done many perception audits for public and private companies and I am always blown away at the amount of honest and unbiased feedback generated. Independence is the key to unlocking the perceptions towards a company and it is very difficult for a company themselves to generate these findings. The feedback can be at times confronting, but it presents companies with an opportunity to address certain perceptions, restore credibility and build a sustainable business path going forward that is well understood and appreciated by its key stakeholders.
Perception Audit Process
The Perception Audit process is quite efficient. Market Connect works collaboratively with a company to identify the key issues to be covered in a specifically designed questionnaire or discussion script. A thorough target list is then built across key stakeholders including fund managers, stockbrokers, analysts, suppliers, customers, media etc. Market Connect then personally contacts all Perception Audit targets and their feedback is sought anonymously to generate open, honest and unbiased findings in relation to the key sentiment issues impacting the value or performance of a company.
Perception Audit Benefits
The benefits of the Market Connect Perception Audit extend to identifying stakeholder or market understanding of the business and its key value drivers. It can be used to build awareness and to test strategy and direction. By understanding how a company is perceived in terms of key value drivers, it can better manage expectations and maximize the impact of future communications and investor relations activity. Importantly, the Market Connect Perception Audit is well received by the company stakeholders, it reaches out to them and shows them the company is listening as their views are important.