Companies Reputation and Wikileaks: Bank of America Case

(See also a new post about the reputation impact of FHFA lawsuit against Bank of America and other 16 financial institutions).

In a precedent post we showed the list of top 20 American companies most affected by Wikileaks in terms of news generated worldwide. Bank of America appeared as ranked number five. It was counted among those experiencing an upward trend in terms of media attention. Few days before Bank of America joined other firms which blocked services to Wikileaks organizations.

But already at that time Bank of America was subject of a number of articles related to Wikileaks not because US State Department cables, but as it could be the american bank that Julian Assange announced as the one that private and internal communications would be publicly displayed later in year 2011. According to New York Times and other sources, Bank of America representatives take seriously this potential reputation crisis, and are preparing all issues in different levels.

If Bank of America is finally the financial company subject of Wikileaks revelations, it will suppose a major event in terms of media reputation crisis, that MRI Universidad de Navarra will be ready to analyze.

In the meanwhile, we show some results concerning the impact that Wikileaks already has on Bank of America reputation. We show some brand vectors (please check Chevron Case post for explanations about our methodology) linked to Wikileaks affair before Bank of America announcement of denial of financial services to Wikileaks.

Bank of America reputation is estimated using the content of some 87,000 news by US newspapers between June and December 2010 referred to this bank. The number of BofA + Wikileaks news by mid December is 1,700.

We have selected three vectors as example: “Excellence”, “Spectacular” and “Scandal”.

Wikileaks related news reduce somehow Bank of America reputation association with the vector “Excellence”, which is not specially high in normal times, as the banking sector is quite punished in terms of reputation in this vector. Reputation due to Wikileaks suffers specially in the critical components of “honesty”, “excellence” and “CRS”.

Concerning the “Spectacular” vector we appreciate that the news related with Wikileaks increase notably the reputation association with Bank of America in comparison with normal times position. This is due again to the fact that the banking sector is very poorly associated to all emotional vectors of brand reputation. Being linked to Wikileaks increase all these factors, but they do not add any real reputational value to Bank of America’s brand. It is just reflecting that Bank of America is an “issue” in terms of media attraction and coverage.

Our last vector selected refers to a negative reputational component, “Scandal”. Bank of America being passively associated to Wikileaks issues already activates negative associations with Scandal components. As everyone can imagine, this reputational vector is extremely important for the banking sector. Bank of America was relatively low associated to this vector during this last half year. There was just a component highly associated to Bank of America, “worrying”, which is in line with the difficult economic and financial conditions suffered by the economy and the banking system.

We continue to accumulate news analysis about Bank of America with Wikileaks in order to check and measure the reputation impact of any new development.

See also the post showing the impact of FHFA lawsuit against 17 banks for fraud in mortgage securities selling in Bank of America image.

Other Posts

Company Reputation: News Corp Scandal Media Coverage in US Newspapers

Company Reputation: How Harmful Is News of the World Scandal for News Corp Reputation?

Company Reputation: AFLAC Media Reputation: Impact of Jokes About Tsunami in Japan (you can also download a Short Note about AFLAC Media Reputation, pdf version)

Japan VII. Fukushima as a Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: Media References by Countries

Japan XV. American Companies Most Affected by Earthquake, Tsunami or Nuclear Crisis in Japan, by Media Impact

Japan XVII. Haiti and Japan Earthquake Media Coverage During the First Month

Japan XIV. New York Times and Wall Street Journal Coverage of Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Crisis (II)

Japan XII. Japan Prefectures Media Coverage. Relationship with Personnel and Property Casualties by Earthquake and Tsunami

Japan XI. Companies in Europe Most Affected by Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, by Media Impact

Japan VIII. Wikileaks on Fukushima and the Japan Nuclear Crisis. Measurement of the Initial Media Storyline.