Monday, September 3, 2018

For the third consecutive year: Rolex ranks #1



 By Capt. DANNY CRIVELLO           

For the third consecutive year, Rolex has earned the top spot as the most reputable company in the world. The data was compiled by the Boston-based Reputation Institute as part of its yearly Top 100 ranking of 7,000 brands across the globe. The institute surveyed more than 230,000 individuals in 40 countries.

As information — or misinformation — spreads faster than ever, few things today are more fleeting than reputation. Yet reputation is an economic multiplier, and studies show a strong reputation yields 2.5 times better stock performance. Today companies are not solely judged on what they make or how they make it; consumers increasingly care about company culture, philanthropic partnerships, social issues, environment and ethics. 

This is easier said than done: While Rolex remains the leader on the Institute's Global RepTrak 100, a majority of companies (58%) have dropped in ranking. Apple, for example, dropped a stunning 38 spots, as it grappled with accusations of tax evasion and battery tampering. 

So what is Rolex' secret sauce?

"Continuous innovation, perpetual exploration and lasting excellence are the foundations of our company," said Virginie Chevailler, Head of Public Relations at Rolex, in a statement. "We are pleased to be ranked first on the Global RepTrak 100 for the third year in a row."

Indeed, Rolex has shown continuous innovation. After all, the brand is credited for developing the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the first wristwatch with an automatically changing date and the first wristwatch to tell time in multiple time zones. Rolex keeps improving its bracelets and movements, including, the blue Parachrom hairspring, which was created after five years of research; it is unaffected by magnetic field and up to 10 times more resistant to shocks.

Rolex and money

Rolex hasn't been plagued by the growing crisis of trust among big companies making record profits. That's because Rolex is owned by the private Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, which is registered as a charity. Because Rolex' profits are given away, it has elegantly maintained its prestige, avoided scandal and at the same time achieved status as a good global citizen being both honest and altruistic. All that helps with reputation. Rolex' Chevailler said it is the "hard-earned recognition of our sustainable contribution to society.”

But Rolex' secret sauce, I believe, is more than the quality of its product or its altruistic attitude; it is the commitment to inspire future generations through philanthropic, environmental and sports partnerships. 

As an example, Rolex constantly fine-tunes its influencer marketing. It is the official timekeeper of Wimbledon and the Australian Open, and for the first time this year, the U.S. Open. Then there is the "pursuit of perfection" in motor sports, equestrianism, yachting and golf — while also encouraging "individual excellence" in the arts and culture.  

Redefining winning

One of its key ingredients, however, is to align itself with prominent people at the top of their game, and not only in sports: Rolex has recently launched a Creatives of Cinema campaign honoring established filmmakers. Through brand ambassadors, the century-old luxury watchmaker maintains its status symbol that redefines winning — even with the youth. 

Rolex works with tennis champion Roger Federer as a role model for underprivileged kids to help them define winning in their own terms; it is less about Federer as celebrity and more about how he gives back to the community as a spokesperson for Rolex.

“Rolex has done an incredible job of telling its brand story, staying relevant, aligning with the changing world of the 21st century and truly building a brand experience that transcends the analog into the digital world,” said Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Executive Partner and Chief Research Officer for Reputation Institute.

As companies grapple with equal rights, workplace culture and millennial strategies, the message from Rolex to other company leaders is clear: If you want to be number one, be a leader who is genuinely engaged with the world beyond your company’s products and services. Inspire your employees and customers through your product's impeccable quality, but also through your positive societal influence and your commitment to philanthropic partnerships. 

Even if your product does nothing else but tell time.