THE results of the newly published FutureBrand Index 2020 has revealed huge changes in the perception and behaviour of global corporates since the start of the pandemic. The comprehensive study, commissioned during lockdown by global brand consultancy FutureBrand, shows a surprising surge forward in the global perception of the oil and gas sector.

Despite oil and gas companies historically being perceived less well than other sectors in the index, this year’s uptick aligns with the trend we saw in the last Index in 2018, where every firm moved up in the rankings, and some excelled.

Royal Dutch Shell has bucked expectations with its huge jump in the Index, up 59 places to 29. The report suggests it has shown very strong growth in its vision for the future, contributing towards its success.

One of the most profitable companies in India, Reliance Industries was this year’s highest new entrant at number two. According to respondents in the report, the company is “very well respected” and “seen as behaving ethically” as well as being associated with “growth”, “innovative products” and “great customer service”. In particular, people have a strong emotional connection with the organisation.

The FutureBrand Index is a global perception study that reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies on perception strength, rather than financial strength, drawing on research with a global sample of 3,000 informed professionals from 17 countries.

Top insights from the Index included:

  1. The top 5 risers: Royal Dutch Shell, Roche, Oracle, L’Oréal, Walmart.
  2. The biggest fallers: Gilead Sciences, Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway and
    China Life Insurance are among the biggest fallers.
  3. The rise and rise of the consumer brand: Consumer goods and services have had the biggest success in the rankings, with L’Oréal, Netflix and Walmart demonstrating how a proactive response to the pandemic has boosted internal and external perception of these brands.
  4. The battleground for tech: Despite Apple’s place at no.1, tech remains volatile versus healthcare and pharma brands, who are now seen as the innovators putting human needs first.
  5. Companies of the future: Making their first appearances in the index top 20, innovative energy and infrastructure firms, such as Nextera Energy, Reliance and ASML, suggest future economies will be high tech, renewable and ethical.

“The biggest link between the best performing companies in the index is that they’ve all shown a highly individual response to Covid-19 as well as other significant market and societal shifts,” Jon Tipple, Global Chief Strategy Officer and FutureBrand, commented.

“This means prioritising what their staff and customers need and want most and delivering with oodles of authentic personality even if it means breaking with category conventions and norms. While these traits were once a ‘nice-to-have’, they are now crucial for corporate success.”

Sector summary

Industrials/Telcos/Oil and gas

  • Telcos suffer overall along with Industrials suggesting these brands are losing touch with people.
  • Oil and gas firms move up with Royal Dutch Shell a clear winner, up 59 places to 29 bucking the expected trend of a decline in the perception of fossil fuel bands.