Trade press coverage.Conventional wisdom suggests that a company builds its reputation by first achieving visibility in the computer trade press. To test that theory, we scanned the November 1993 Computer Select CD-ROM CD-ROM: see compact disc.
in full compact disc read-only memory
Type of computer storage medium that is read optically (e.g., by a laser). database, a compendium com·pen·di·um
n. pl. com·pen·di·ums or com·pen·di·a
1. A short, complete summary; an abstract.
2. A list or collection of various items. of 74,261 articles and abstracts from 170 industry publications. When we tallied the number of separate articles in the last twelve months that mention each Scorecard company, we ended up with the following data:
"Revenue Rank" is based on 1993 Soft.letter 100 rankings. "Ballot Ratio" reflects the percentage of Leadership Scorecard voters who have some opinion about each company's performance (counting each performance category as a separate vote).
Not surprisingly, Microsoft turns out to be the clear front runner front runner n → favorito/a
front runner n (fig) → favori(te)
front runner n (fig) → in the visibility sweepstakes--16,850 mentions, equal to 23% of all the articles in the Computer Select database. Other software companies tend to get about as much trade press coverage as their relative size warrants. (The one conspicuous exception is Autodesk, a company that traditionally focuses its publicity efforts almost exclusively on vertical market publications.)
In fact, when we divide total press mentions by calendar 1992 revenues, the chart shows an almost perfect match between volume of coverage and company size: 5-6 mentions per million dollars in revenues. Moreover, as the above-average ratio of mentions for Novell and Adobe demonstrate, trade press visibility doesn't seem to have much to do with press tours, high-level schmoozing, or even the competence of a company's public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most program. In the final analysis, it seems that the the trade press has managed to allocate coverage of top companies in a remarkably even-handed and nonpartisan non·par·ti·san
Based on, influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of no single political party: a nonpartisan commission; nonpartisan opinions. fashion.
Another point that the chart makes is that company size and visibility in the trade press correlate reasonably well with our so-called "ballot ratio," which measures the percentage of Scorecard respondents In the context of marketing research, a representative sample drawn from a larger population of people from whom information is collected and used to develop or confirm marketing strategy. who have opinions about a company's management, products, service, and marketing. Again, the rule of thumb is simple: The bigger the company, the better known its performance is likely to be.
What these numbers don't measure, however, is whether press mentions and visibility translate into a favorable fa·vor·a·ble
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.
2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.
3. opinion about the company's performance. As Intuit in·tu·it
tr.v. in·tu·it·ed, in·tu·it·ing, in·tu·its Usage Problem
To know intuitively.
[Back-formation from intuition. proves, a relatively small company can build a strikingly positive industry reputation with just a tiny amount of press coverage (in Intuit's case, 210 mentions, the fewest of any Scorecard company, and the second-lowest ratio of mentions to revenues). To the extent that a favorable industry reputation helps influence customers, investors, employees, and 'other constituencies, it seems that nice guys actually do finish first.