What do the neighbors surrounding BASF think about the “Aniline”? BASF tasked a Market Research Institute with finding out. The emphasis: which topics interest the residents on the other side of the firm’s fence? 2,300 residents of the Rhine-Neckar region have answered in this representative study.
“The good news is”, says site manager and board member Michael Heinz (translated), “that 87 percent of the people in the region see us as ‘very positive’, or ‘positive’ – roughly unchanged from the last survey in 2014. This shows us the trust of our neighbors, even though many were aware of the misfortune in Nordhafen”. 88 percent indicated that BASF has contributed to the economic development of the region. Almost just as many see the chemical company as an attractive employer (84 percent) and innovative (78 percent) corporation. This is how every fifth person questioned in the Rhine-Neckar region heard about the self-driving transportation vehicles that belong to BASF. As many people know that BASF is working to advance in the areas of “digitalization” or “Industry 4.0”. These numbers are even higher in the immediate vicinity of the firm’s site, at around 30 percent.
Crises Overshadow Other Topics in Public Perception
Interestingly, significantly more than two-thirds of the neighbors in the Rhine-Neckar region (71 percent) state that BASF is making important strides in areas of education, culture, community, and sport. However, when asked what they have seen, heard, or read regarding BASF in the media over the past 3 months, these contributions were overshadowed by the reporting of crises. Examples include the explosion in Nordhafen or the problems with the production facilities.
Immediate neighbors expect information fast
After all, more than every second resident of the Rhine-Neckar region feels that they are informed of operational disturbances in a timely manner (56 percent), 41 percent feel comprehensively informed and 50 percent feel credibly informed.
Those directly surrounding the premises were more critical. Dr. Kristina Winzen, head of the Communications and Site Relations Germany (translated): “We understand that our close neighbors that live by the work premises expect information quicker and more often than today. This is an incentive for us to continue developing our communications.”
Overall, neighbors inform themselves over reliable channels: 79 percent use the daily newspaper and news articles, followed by 66 percent who use television. Equally useful are personal conversations with BASF employees. Written information such as the business reports or the employee-newspaper from BASF is an important news source for around 55 percent of those surveyed. This is followed closely by personal visits to BASF (51 percent). “There is another large-scale opportunity in this year’s ‘Open House’ on September 22nd”, says Heinz (translated). Inspired by the German Chemical Industry Association (Verband der Chemischen Industrie), many companies all over Germany open their gates on this day. “We purposefully put the BASF-Experience-Day 2018 in Ludwigshafen under the motto ‘paticipate, inform, be there”, says Heinz (translated), “and so we would like to initiate the dialogue with out neighbors, employees, and their families. It is a good opportunity to make inquiries, listen, and better understand what exactly is needed.”