Does Your Firm Have Reputational Equity?

Use this corporate reputational equity checklist to brand or rebrand your firm as an inclusive and equitable workplace.

by by James H. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D. and Jeanne Milliken Bonds, MPA
of Kenan-Flagler Business School UNC-Chapel Hill
November 2020


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Public opinion polls reveal Americans are turning to companies with purpose and ethics to lead us through the profound anxiety and crises we are currently experiencing as a nation. We developed a corporate reputational equity checklist that will enable firms to brand or rebrand themselves as inclusive and equitable places to work, as well as position their companies as a collective of civically engaged corporate citizens poised and willing to address society‘s most pressing ills, including systemic racism.


For twenty-one consecutive years, The Harris Poll has released its annual “corporate reputation ratings for the 100 most visible companies in the U.S., as perceived by [a nationally representative sample of] the general public” (PRNewsWire, 2018). Companies can appear on the list for good or for bad reasons. The Harris Poll‘s Reputational Quotient (RQ), as Table 1 shows, is based on survey respondents‘ assessment or perception of company performance across seven key domains.


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About the Authors

James H. Johnson, Jr. is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the Kenan-Flagler Business School and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jeanne Milliken Bonds is a Professor of the Practice, Impact Investment and Sustainable Finance in the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Department of Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Allan M. Parnell is a Senior Research in the Kenan Institute’s Urban Investment Strategies Center and Vice President of the Mebane, NC-based Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities.

The Kenan Institute fosters mutual understanding between members of the private sector, the academic community, and their government, and to encourage cooperative efforts among these groups.

The Kenan Institute serves as a national center for scholarly research, joint exploration of issues, and course development with the principal theme of preservation, encouragement, and understanding of private enterprise.

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