Corporate reputation is undeniably vital for survival and growth of companies—with E-reputation (or online reputation) being one of the main components. It deals with aspects of an organization’s digital activity and online brand presence. Many studies have been conducted on how reputation affects customer acquisition and retention, though nowadays it is not needed as customers openly state how a company’s reputation affects their decision to buy its products or services.  

At Toulouse Business School, Salman Khan and Jacques Digout conducted the first study of such scale, accuracy and technique on the Middle Eastern airline industry, during which different components of e-reputation were measured, focusing on Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Saudia. The research was conducted with the help of BrandsEye – one of the most recognized opinion mining companies, which predicted events such as Brexit and Trump’s victory. BrandsEye leverages the integration of artificial intelligence software with the human factor.

To evaluate the gathered information, it was split into these dimensions: being known, being known for something and generalized favorability. All of them were presented by different measures.

Being known

The being known dimension depicts the strength and popularity of an organization. Emirates emerged as the most talked about brand, followed by Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Saudia.

One of the topics analyzed is referral across different social media networks. Emirates received the most mentions – 243,633. It was followed by Qatar Airways (165,276). Etihad Airways (78,705) performed slightly better than the worst performer, Saudia (59,447).

Interestingly, in this dimension, the popularity of the brands was evaluated based on the quantity of online brand mentions. Most of these posts were related to the airlines’ agreements and sponsorships of sports teams and events. Etihad Airways was mentioned for its’ sponsorship of Manchester City Football Club, while Emirates received an enormous amount of mentions in relation with its sponsorship of many sports events and football clubs. Qatar Airways was frequently mentioned in connection with F.C. Barcelona and FIFA World Cup.

Being known for something

This dimension is explained by illustrating each brand’s reputation for 11 major issues. Emirates appeared to have the best reputation in posts discussing the quality of the brand. Qatar Airways had the best reputation for aesthetics, airport experience, baggage handling, in-flight amenities, in-flight service, pricing, response time, special offers/promotions, and staff. Etihad Airways performed best for ethics while appearing the worst for baggage handling and response time. Saudia emerged as the worst for aesthetics, airport

experience, brand, ethics, in-flight amenities, in-flight service, pricing, special offers/promotions, and staff.

Generalized Favorability

This dimension describes the overall likeability of an airline. In terms of overall sentiment share, Qatar Airways came out as the top airline, both in term of maximum positive sentiment 44%, and the least negative sentiment—9%. The findings back up the recent study published by Skytrax which reported Qatar Airways as being voted the best airline for 2017. Emirates, although being the most talked about airline from March to May, ranked as the second most popular brand based on sentiment. They averaged 39% for positive sentiment against 16% negative. Etihad was a close third, and Saudia performed the worst.

The original is sourced from TBS Aerospace MBA Blog. To learn more about the results of the research, read the full report here.