In a previous post we showed the list of top 50 companies in Europe most affected by Japan disaster, in terms of media coverage received in relation with the catastrophe. List was dominated by energy companies and insurance and financial institutions.
In this post we show the list concerning the American companies. We show exactly the same approach and ways to establish the list of companies in Europe. You can refer to the post about Europe or the presenting note about our methodology if you need further explanations. We will show in a future post the list of most affected companies in Asia.
The sample for American companies is elaborated with the companies included in the Stoxx Americas 600. It includes companies from United States and Canada. Official site provides information about the 600 components of the index. This sample was also used to estimate the American companies most affected by Wikileaks in the initial stage of revelations and reactions by some US companies.
We use as unit of reference the same applied to the European case, in order to make it comparable. A Media impact value of 1.0 indicates that this firm has received an amount of news related with the Japanese disaster in an equal number than the average of news received by all Stoxx Europe 600. In the graph we also indicate if the company is more associated to news about the earthquake and tsunami or to the nuclear ongiong crisis in Fukushima.
Period monitored includes news published by newspapers all over the world between March 11 and March 21 2011.
According to our data, the company most affected in terms of media attention received is General Electric, with 37.1 points of media value. This media attention is mainly driven by Fukushima nuclear problems. This result shows the potential harm that the present crisis can generate for General Electric reputation and business interests, as its linkage with the crisis is due to the fact that General Electric was the company that designed the reactors, and that are still in use in other nuclear plants elsewhere. Probably we will identify in the future the impact of this crisis for General Electric in terms of media reputation, as we did with Bank of America or Chevron in relation with Wikileaks revelations.
Second firm in the list is Moody’s. In this case, the presence of this rating agency in Japan related news does not reflect a direct exposure of the firm. It is reflecting the media coverage given to the eventual assessment of the impact of the disaster on the quality of Japanese public debt. Third and fifth positions are also for financial institutions: JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. These financial companies are present in the news in a similar way as Moddy’s is. They appear in Japan related news not basically as a company affected by the disaster, but as analysts and experts consulted to asses the extent of the economic and financial impact of the disaster.
Fourth place is for AFLAC, an insurance company. In this case, media presence is related with business exposure to the economic impact of the tsunami. For this company, this relationship with the tsunami is also a matter for negative reputation, as a substantial amount of media coverage received is not related with the estimation of the damages, but to the impact of unfortunated jokes tweeted by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of AFLAC trademark duck. Gilbert Gottfried was fired by March 14. Our results show how relevant are mistakes in times of crisis with massive media coverage.
Following places are taken by industrial companies, like General Motors and Caterpillar. Caterpillar appears as one of the potentila beneficiaries of the disaster, as this construction oriented firm.
Some US companies receive some of their media coverage associated to the tsunami as corportate donors through corporate foundations.
The presence of US automotive and technological (Intel, Apple, National Semiconductor) firms in the media with relation with the Japanese disaster is mainly associated to the problems that the earthquake can produce in terms of production shortages, as some damaged factories in Japan produce key components in the supply chain of these industries.
We find also in the list some US companies highly exposed to the Japanese economy, as this market is responsible for a relevant share of revenues and profits. Examples are Tiffany (position 25), Wal-Mart (position 11) or Starbucks (position 23).
If we compare this list with companies from Europe, we find that the most affected companies in Europe were mainly electric and energy companies and reinsurance firms.
(NOTE: You can download here a pdf version of AFLAC crisis post, edited by Media, Reputation and Intangibles center, MRI Universidad de Navarra. It contains additional analysis about media reputation of AFLAC rivals, like Metlife, Prudential Financial or Aetna).