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November 23, 2005

Recommendation to Harris Poll: Use Grades Not Numbers

For several years, Harrisinteractive of the Harris polling company has done an annual survey of the 'reputation quotient' of what it calls the 60 'most visible' companies. The survey asks respondents to evaluate companies against 20 attributes ranging from social responsibility to financial performance to product quality. Each of the twenty can earn a top score of 7 and a low of 1.

To calculate the final scores, Harrisinteractive sums each company's average on the 20 attributes and divides by 140 -- then converts the score to a percentage.

It's like taking a test where your maximum possible score is 140 -- only the teacher chooses to grade you by a percentage.

Thus, Microsoft's average in 2004 was 109.2 out of 140 -- for a 78% score. The top ranked company in 2004, Johnson&Johnson, received a 79.81% score; the lowest, Enron, a 29.03%.

While Harrisinteractive provides a link to a pdf file explaining its methodology, it doesn't really say much about what the rankings or scores mean on the webpage presenting the results. Basically, Harrisinteractive says, "Here are the 60 most visible companies in America" -- and then provides a table with rank order on the left and a score on the right.

It would seem Harrisinteractive is losing an opportunity to clearly communicate. The company believes 'reputation management' is important. It offers polling and other services to help clients do a better job at reputation management (and, the survey must be a marketing tool for building business). It makes sense, then, that Harrisinteractive would want a visitor to its webpage to undertand what the scores mean.

Here's a suggestion. Explain that the scores are based on a percentage with 100% as the best possible. Then, show the scores and convert them to the well-understood letter grade all of us undertand from school.

Thus, the top ranked company, Johnson&Johnson, received a 79.81% or C+. The lowest, Enron, received a 29.03%, or F.

Viewed this way, we could quickly undertand that Americans rate the reputations of the sixty most visible companies as follows:

A: None of the companies.
B: None of the companies.
C: 31 of the companies.
D: 19 of the companies.
F: 10 of the companies.

That's a picture that should generate business for Harrisinteractive!

Posted by Doug Smith on November 23, 2005 01:56 PM | Permalink

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» Reputation Management: Doug Smith's Recommendations to Harris Interactive from ChristianSarkar.com
For several years, Harrisinteractive of the Harris polling company has done an annual survey of the 'reputation quotient' of what it calls the 60 'most visible' companies. The survey asks respondents to evaluate companies against 20 attributes ranging ... [Read More]

Tracked on November 29, 2005 03:40 AM

» Visibly Poor Performance from Douglas K Smith
Harrisineractive has just published it's 2005 Survey of the "Reputation Quotient" for the sixty most visible companies in America. The top company, Johnson&Johnson, received a "B" grade (albeit just barely: J&J got a numerical score of 80%). Of the res... [Read More]

Tracked on December 12, 2005 07:15 PM

Comments

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Posted by: Kathy Martin | March 28, 2006 04:29 PM

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