The Authenticity Report – China ​Headlines
Companies have work to do delivering on a national priority

The government’s latest five-year plan singles out home-grown innovation as a central pillar in the country’s continued economic development. This is reflected in innovation being on average the second ranked expectation across all industries. And there is much work to do. Nearly half of the over 150 companies we studied are falling short of expectations of innovation, and a further 15 per cent of companies are only broadly matching.


Company leaders only half as credible as employees and workers

At a time of more and more fake news, when people look for information about companies, more people find employees – rather than company leaders – credible. Employees and people who work in a company (25%) are seen to be more reliable than leaders of the company (13%). Is this hampering companies’ ability to be heard and believed?


Eighty percent of companies failing to meet demand for better value

Better value is not just about price, it also encompasses growing expectations of quality, convenience and service. All 20 industries have better value as a top 3 driver. In fifteen industries, expectations of better value account for one fifth or more of all expectations. Yet, companies are not meeting this demand – 80 percent of the over 150 companies we studied have gaps.


“Disruptor” companies delivering customer care but not consistently

People look to disruptor companies for new and better products and services. Of the eight disruptor companies we studied, customer care is the top experience for four companies, the No.2 experience for three, and No.3 for one company. But all companies are struggling to deliver consistently: consumers’ experience of all eight companies in consistent performance ranks in the bottom four drivers.


Expectations of employee care are the lowest across all industries

Expectations of employee care rank No.7, 8 or 9 for 19 industries. In fact, people rank employee care as the lowest expectation in eight industries. So, it is no surprise that over 90 percent of companies are exceeding or broadly matching expectations. Are expectations so low because people do not believe companies will enforce labor rights?


Balance is critical: companies who focus only on Customer Benefits fail to tell the story their stakeholders expect to hear

Of 20 industries studied, on average, the drivers that make up Customer Benefits (better value, customer care, innovation) are just over half the story companies need to tell. Management Behaviors (doing right, consistent performance, credible communications) make up one quarter of expectations. And expectations of Society Outcomes (employee care, community impact, care of environment) make up the remaining 21 percent. Managers need to be aware of the risks of focusing only on a better product or service.


People turn to social and mainstream media to sort fact from fiction

As microblogging sites like Weibo have become increasingly popular spaces for people to share information more freely, social media channels (34%) rank with knowledgeable friends, family and colleagues (37%) and mainstream broadcast media (36%) as sources of credible information on companies.


Can companies meet growing expectations in care of environment?

Over half of the 150-plus companies we studied have gaps in care of environment. Yet people have only average expectations: care of environment is in the middle range of expectations in 13 industries. The Xiongan project is a recent example of environmental leadership, but are people’s low expectations linked to doubts that pollution can really be curbed?


In an age of alternative facts, companies are struggling to be heard and believed

Three quarters of all companies are exceeding expectations of frequent and credible communications. However, we also know that only 13 percent of people find company leaders a credible source of information. Does this mean that companies should put more resources into messaging through word of mouth, promotions, and public relations? Perhaps, but managers should be aware that expectations of credible communications rank in the bottom three of the Nine Drivers.


Companies need to serve up better customer care

As levels of income rise, customer care and service becomes increasingly important to consumers. In fact, 11 industries rank customer care as No.1, 2 or 3. Yet two thirds of all companies studied have gaps in customer care. Which industries have the largest gaps? E-commerce (-13.9%), Banking (-9.8%), Apparel (-9.0%), Airlines (-8.0%), Food & Beverage (-7.1%), and Beer & Spirits (-5.0%).