The Explain Yourself Index 2019

The Explain Yourself Index is the world's most rigorous assessment of companies' use of online channels to explain who they are and what they do

It is a collaboration between The OCR and Bowen Craggs to produce a single measure of corporate explanations online

Which US companies are best at using online channels to explain themselves?


Click to Download the Explain Yourself Index 2019


Companies are increasingly realizing that however brilliant their products and services, they need to be able to explain themselves as organizations. If they are under attack, they must get their views across, but even if they are not, they need to come across as socially responsible, caring about the environment and the community - or they will miss out on sales, on the best employees, and ultimately on their stock price.

Several of the best-known American corporations - including ExxonMobil, Uber, Facebook and Amazon - have all in the last year publicly acknowledged the need to 'explain themselves' better to customers and the wider community.

The obvious channels to get these messages across is the internet, which is why corporate websites and social media pages now buzz with feel-good stories, rigorous environmental reporting, and high-quality information on 'who we are and what we do'.
Click on the report cover thumbnail to download the report.


Below, Ashley Brown of Amazon, speaking at the Bowen Craggs Conference last year, says that Amazon tells stories about itself online to boost the company's 'social license to operate'.


But who does this best? Bowen Craggs has produced the Explain Yourself Index. We have adapted our rigorous methodology to produce a ranking of the 20 best companies in the US at communicating about themselves on websites and social media. 

Which companies are in the Index?

The companies in the Index were drawn from the largest 200 companies in the world by market capitalization. Bowen Craggs and OCR identified 95 US companies and five global companies with high recognition in the US (according to The Harris Poll). Phase one screened companies based on company information and reputation metrics. Phase two evaluated this short list of 32 companies with more granular metrics to create the top 20 ranking.

We evaluated performance on corporate digital channels across 14 metrics covering crisis management communications; visual design and usability; ESG and political disclosure communications; history and leadership information; and digital innovation. (For a more in-depth discussion of the methodology, download the report).

Get in touch to learn lessons from the best

The Explain Yourself Index was created to highlight best practice in this fast-growing area of corporate communications - all of the companies in the Index are high-performers at some aspect of 'explaining themselves'. And if your company did not make the ranking, there are lessons to be learned for your own corporate digital presence.

If your company made it into the Explain Yourself Index, we'd like to tell you why. If not, get the lessons you need from the leaders.

Contact Dan Drury or Craig Carroll.

If you would like to hear about our future indices and reports sign up for our email alerts by subscribing here.

For all commercial enquiries:

Dan Drury

office: +1 347 973 5395
mobile: +44 7786 707434

For PR and media enquiries:

David Bowen

Founding partner

Craig E Carroll

Founder and Executive Director
elephone: +1 917 410 0627