Performance Inspired Announces America’s 2012 Most Inspiring Companies™
Performance Inspired, Inc., a national consulting, media and research firm based in Atlanta, announces the results of its 2012 Most Inspiring Companies™ survey—a completely consumer-centric read on the perceptions of leading organizations, including specifics on why people think the way they do.
“According to our latest research, consumers are not only feeling inspired by certain businesses, but are acting inspired by spending more with these companies while evangelizing to others about their inspiring experience,” says Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer for Performance Inspired. “We now see there is a validated set of drivers to inspiration and when these drivers are activated, it elevates employee engagement that shows up in the customer experience.”
An inspiring company was framed for respondents as: Affirming (causes me to feel valued, appreciated as an individual), Credible (stands on its principles no matter what), Servant attitude (seems to genuinely care about people’s needs above profit), Visionary (has a compelling vision for making the world a better place), Story (is easy and fun to talk about with friends), Progressing (is highly innovative and causes me to feel empowered to reach new potential), and Authentic (is transparent and consistent in its actions).
Here are some key findings from this year’s survey:
- 54% of respondents think about their Most Inspiring Company at least weekly and 28% actually talk positively about their Most Inspiring Company every week. 29% of respondents think and/or talk about that company daily.
- This was the first year respondents were asked to identify themselves as a present or former employee of the companies they mentioned. 12% of respondents met that criteria, making it possible to see the link between an inspiring employee culture and an inspiring customer culture. The companies represented by these employees were Chick-fil-A, Whole Foods, Costco and Apple. Several respondents actually wrote in how much they are inspired based on how a company treats employees.
- The number one word used to describe an uninspiring company was RUDE.
- Inspiring brands are able to meet the noble emotional aspirations of customers. Some examples are: Apple: “They inspire me to be my best.” Target: “I know and love the people who work there.” Starbucks: “It’s the best part of my day. They make me feel special.” Walmart: “Every time I walk in I feel welcome and important.”
- A most inspiring brand appears to have the capacity to go wider on its product portfolio. Respondents seem to assume a quality product, but they are more appreciative of the inspiring experience that had. For example, of all the reasons why people gave for Chick-fil-A being their most inspiring company, nothing was ever mentioned about how good the food was, but rather about the way they made respondents feel important. All this to say that a company is better served to focus on the experience versus just the product and process.
- Corporate Social Responsibility is driving an inspirational perception, especially when the contribution was given for local impact. Walmart, Target, McDonald’s and Starbucks topped the list in that order, for contributing the most to their local communities.
For the second year in a row, Apple topped the list. Some consumer comments, taken from the survey, on what makes Apple so inspiring: “Apple makes me feel more creative” and “Apple makes me feel entrepreneurial.” Words to describe this company and others ranked high on the list included friendly, innovative and easy (to use, work with, etc.).
Respondents were also inspired by Apple’s ability to continue to innovate even without Steve Jobs at the helm. Perhaps more interesting, language over the last three years has dramatically shifted from talking about Apple as “they” to Apple as “we.” Apple has done what very few tech companies have been able to do, tying imaginative innovation with warm and passionate human interaction.
For the first time this year, the survey asked respondents: “Who is most likely to make the world a better place, Business, Charities, Church/Synagogue or Government?” Thirty-nine percent of people said charities, 39% said business and 22% said church/synagogue. Zero respondents gave their confidence to government in helping to make the world a better place.
“Now, more than ever, is the time for businesses to examine what they are doing, or if they are doing anything, to inspire customers,” shares Barber. “Consumers are counting on private businesses of all sizes to inspire and improve the world. If a company can capture and promote a spirit of innovation and inspiration within its employees, they will have uncovered the secret to devout customers for life.”
The companies that round out the top of this year’s 25 Most Inspiring Companies:
- The Home Depot
- Whole Foods Market
- Best Buy
- Johnson & Johnson
- Trader Joe’s
Performance Inspired’s Most Inspiring Companies™ list is built through an online survey sent to over 10,000 U.S. households with incomes of $45,000 +, age 25 plus. A total of 2,175 people completed responses in the 25 top MSA’s (n=75). Sample provided by Survey Sampling International. The final score for inspiration includes measures of both inspirational reach and fervency. Respondents were first asked to mention the names of up to 5 companies they find inspiring. They were then asked to focus on the one company they found most inspiring. To determine the Top 25 list, each company was ranked by multiplying the number of overall mentions by the number of respondents who chose them as “most inspiring.”
Read the Forbes.com article on this 2012 MIC report.
2011 Most Inspiring Companies Survey: Leveraging Capital and Influence to Make the World a Better Place
Over the last few years, the world’s economic situation has taken a toll not only on consumer’s investment portfolio but has also made a withdrawal on their emotional bank accounts. A record number of workers are both disgruntled at work and are actively looking for new places of employment.
Consumer sentiment is not that much different when it comes to being cynical about their future.
But, as always, America by and large continues to have hope. But, for the first time, according to the Global Institute’s of Inspiration’s latest research project:
As you might expect, 39% thought that the nonprofit sector would do the most to make the world a better place. But, what about business?
Never in our history has Business had more of an opportunity to do something, well, inspiring. According to GII’s latest research, consumers are not only feeling inspired by certain business, consumers are acting inspired by spending more with their Most Inspiring Companies™ while evangelizing others about their inspiring experience.
It is our hope at the Global Institute for Inspiration that regardless of the size of the business you own or work within, take the opportunity to read and apply the very principles of inspiration uncovered in this project.
Read the Forbes.com article on this 2011 MIC report release.