Article: Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Museums have higher reputations than companies. This was the outcome of a study in ten countries by professor Cees van Riel of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The Louvre has the highest reputation worldwide. The Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum follow in the second and third places, which puts them among the top in the world. In the study, it also became clear exactly what it is that makes museums so highly regarded. Van Riel thinks that businesses could learn from this.
For twenty years, Prof. Cees van Riel has been working with the Reputation Institute to study the reputations of companies and especially: how does this reputation come about? What are the drivers of a high or low reputation?
This is important, because previous research has shown that even a small difference in reputation has major implications for the market value of companies.
As for companies, reputation is an important ‘license to operate’ for museums. Aside from financial effects, a positive reputation leads to more and better job applicants and an organisation with a high reputation is a more credible partner for government and political parties and NGOs.
However, until now such a large scale study had never been done for international art museums. This study investigated the reputations of museums with the same standardised instrument that has previously also been used for companies: RepTrak. This makes the results comparable between museums and also between museums and companies.
This study looked at 18 art museums in 10 countries on 4 continents (see report for full list of countries and museums). Among other things, the museums were selected on the basis of their visitor numbers, and tried to obtain the best possible distribution over the continents. The study surveyed 12,000 people, both visitors and non-visitors. The most important results are given below. Read the whole study here.
Companies that want to increase their reputation could learn from the social contribution that museums provide and the way they are managed, says Van Riel: “The DNA of museums is completely focused on fulfilling their social tasks. And with this ‘sense of purpose’ in the back of the mind, that idea of giving meaning, the money in museums is spent as intelligently as possible. Museums are rewarded for this in the form of a fabulously high reputation. Companies that want to improve their reputation can certainly take an example from these drivers behind the high reputations of museums.
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
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