Rated Ranking: Image Profiles (Imageprofile) 2014

Image Profiles (Imageprofile) 2014


The ranking “Image Profiles” appears every two years in the German business publication manager magazin. The results are based on a survey among 3,089 senior managers in Germany who evaluated 181 of the largest corporations operating in Germany on a scale from 0 (very poor) to 10 (excellent) in 7 reputation dimensions (ranging from management quality over financial soundness to sustainability), although only the results of 5 reputation dimensions are revealed! The survey was conducted by Humboldt University Berlin between September and November 2013, and the results are published in a cross-industry table (comprising 181 companies) from 10 individual industries (ranging from car manufacturers to basic materials).

Due to the single respondent group “senior managers”, the ranking clearly has an executive bias. Mid-sized and small as well as many major family-owned companies (e.g. Freudenberg) are not rated. As of now, the overall results of all 181 individual firms can only be found in the print version of manager magazin. They are not accessible via an easy-to-reach website, as for example the results of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies”. In the case of Image Profile, such a data base would be very valuable, as the ranking has a long history (published for the 17th time) – which would facilitate analyzing long-term developments for individual firms.

As in the 2008 ranking, this year Porsche is again on top of the table, followed by BMW and Audi. It should be noted that automobile manufacturers regularly take top places in this ranking. The above average performance of the automobile industry may be attributed to the selection of persons surveyed, (predominantly male German) executives. Very few countries would seem to foster the same strong affection for automobiles among managers as “Autoland” Germany. While this type of informant bias cannot always be avoided in empirical surveys, such a high degree must be viewed critically. Due to the huge differences in glamor of the products (e.g. luxury cars vs. salt or cement), it is also questionable whether it makes sense to comprise and compare the producers of such diverse products in one cross-industry ranking. Therefore, the editors of manager magazin should contemplate to publish the 10 individual industry rankings rather than focusing on the cross-industry ranking.

As depicted above, the design of “Image Profiles” has significant room for improvement. Apart from these (solvable) flaws, the ranking can be a valuable tool to analyze and compare developments in terms of reputation strength over time.

Click here to read the article on “manager magazin online” (German).

Relevance / Impact
– 10 points –
Added Value / Insights
– 9 points –

Trustworthiness / Intention
– 11 points –
– 9 points –

Aggregated points
– 39 (out of 60) –
Highly valuable ranking

Useful ranking with some flaws

Partially useful ranking with considerable flaws

< 30
Useless ranking

Reach of publication:

  • Global, e.g. North America, Europe and Asia (5 points)
  • Regional, e.g. Europe or North America (3 points)
  • Large national market: e.g. US, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Brazil (2 points)
  • Mid-sized or small market, e.g. Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore (1 point)

Ranking will be recognized by key stakeholders:

  • Opinion Leaders (Politicians, Professors; NGO’s) (2 points)
  • Business Advisory Board, C-Level Executives (CEO, CCO, CFO, CMO) (2 points)
  • High Potentials & Top Talents (employer market, students) (2 points)
  • Financial Market (2 points)
  • General Public (2 points)

Aggregated points: 10 (of max. 15)

Is the owner providing the ranking a credible and trustworthy organization?

  • Ranking owner has limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Ranking owner has fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Ranking owner has excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

What is the ranking owner’s intention to produce and disseminate the ranking?

  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (1 point)
  • Ranking is partly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (3 points)
  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to surface and share important insights on the subject surveyed. (5 points)

Comment: Humboldt University invests a lot of efforts and money in producing the ranking, but at the same time intends to sell more of their accompanying «additional insights» via the ranking, e.g. via a separate «executive conference», which costs approx. $4,000 to participate.

Is/Are the media outlet(s) where the ranking is published of high credibility and reputation?

  • Media outlet(s) has/have limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

Aggregated points: 11 (of max. 15)

Do the ranking results provide overall orientation where companies stand?

  • limited orientation only (1 point)
  • fair orientation provided (3 points)
  • very good orientation (5 points)

Comment: 181 major companies operating in Germany are rated in 10 industries, with a clear focus on publicly listed companies, incl. all DAX 30/German blue chip corporations.

Is the Ranking published in the same format on a regular basis, e.g. annually, which allows to track developments and comparisons over time?

  • ranking is published for the first time (1 point)
  • ranking is published for the second time in the same format (3 points)
  • ranking is published for more than 3 times on a regular basis in the same format (5 points)

Comment: Ranking appears only every second year. Ranking was not published in 2010. The ranking institute changed in 2012.

Do the ranking results provide added value and further insights on how companies are evaluated in in their industry, e.g. detailed ratings in various sub-dimensions of the overall result?

  • limited added value only (1 point)
  • fair amount of added value (3 points)
  • high amount of added value (5 points)

Comment: In the article the overall results on corporate reputation are published, plus results in five individual reputation dimensions for each company rated – although the questionnaire comprised seven reputation dimensions.

Aggregated points: 9 (of max. 15)

Is the ranking based on a representative survey among key stakeholders or on a jury only?

  • Ranking is based on a jury’s opinion only. (1 point)
  • Ranking is based on a small survey or only on a limited group of stakeholders. (3 points)
  • Ranking is based on a robust and representative survey. (5 points)

Comment: The ranking reflects the perception only of 3,089 executives and senior managers, predominantly working in Germany. Due to the focus only on this group the ranking clearly has a bias.

Is the ranking methodology easy to understand and reasonable – even for non-statisticians?

  • Methodology not easy to understand and not reasonable. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to understand and reasonable. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to understand and reasonable. (5 points)

Is the ranking methodology easy to access and transparent?

  • Methodology not easy to find and not sufficiently transparent. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to find and of medium transparency. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to find and of high transparency. (5 points)

Aggregated points: 9 (of max. 15)

Ranking category

  • Product / Service Brands
  • Company Brands
  • Corporate Reputation and Company Esteem
  • Social Responsibility, CSR & Sustainability, Ethical Business Practices
  • Innovation & Technology
  • Employer Attractiveness & Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Nations & Destinations
  • University & Other Institutions
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Social Media
  • Personal Branding & CEOs

Ranking statistics

  • Name of Ranking: Image Profiles (Imageprofile)
  • Ranking managed/produced by institute/organization: Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
  • Ranking published by media outlet: manager magazin
  • Date of recent publication: January 24, 2014
  • Date of previous publication: January 27, 2012

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