Since 2003, Doremus, the specialist business communications agency, and the Financial Times have polled senior executives worldwide about their level of trust in key suppliers in the financial, consulting and technology categories. This year, the survey received the largest number of responses, over 600, and was composed of C-level and senior level executives from North America, Europe and Asia. 91% were male. 75% were age 45+.
In 2003, the first year of the research, considerably more worldwide senior executives said that their trust in suppliers was diminishing as opposed to those who said trust was on the increase. The categories particularly hard hit by a lack of trust were auditing and investment banking. Taking into account that in 2003 the fallout from the post-tech-boom scandals was in full swing, these findings were of no great surprise.
What’s happened since The big surprise is that, in the following four years of the survey, the issue of trust is still eroding in all supplier categories.
Perhaps the same factors that are eroding trust in suppliers are also increasing demand for them to show high ethical standards and corporate stability.
More than just looking for suppliers who “meet the specs” or are competitively priced, more than a third of the senior executives polled this year said that a supplier with “high ethical standards” would be enough for them to choose that one over another. Another 34% said that, given two relatively equal suppliers, the one with “high ethical standards” would break the tie.
Also important to supplier selection are attributes such as strong management, strategy, and financial performance. These three rated higher than attributes such as “environmental responsibility” and “supporting local communities.”
It’s not just about price
While “pricing pressure” was cited by 50% of the group as their primary external challenge, particularly by executives who run large companies, a supplier that offered the “best price,” regardless of other factors, would not automatically seal the deal.
What it all means
“Suppliers need to think beyond the minimum qualifications of price and specs and focus more on how they do business,” said Howard Sherman, Managing Director of Doremus New York. “Messaging that highlights a track record for customer satisfaction and loyalty as well as stable management and financial success will translate to mean high ethics, something that will put them in good stead with senior executives all over the world.”
The Financial Times, recognized worldwide for its authoritative, accurate, and analytical reporting, is one of the world's leading global business news organizations. The newspaper is printed in 23 cities across the world. It has a daily circulation of more than 440,000 copies, more than one million readers and is available in 110 countries. FT.com, the FT website, is the world's leading audited business website, with more than 5.3 million unique users.
Doremus is a specialist in a world of generalists. With offices in New York, San Francisco, London and Hong Kong, we specialize in business communications, helping companies to grow. We do this by leveraging a unique understanding of our clients` target audiences… taking the complex and making it compelling through intellect, insight, ideas and impact.