Harris Interactive recently published its 13th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient study, which ranks the reputations of the 60 most visible companies by consumers.
Harris ranked these companies based on scores of 20 attributes within six categories: Social responsibility, vision & leadership, financial performance, products & services, workplace environment and emotional appeal. The highest possible Reputation Quotient (RQ) being 100, a report by Harris indicates that companies scoring more than 80 are in excellent standing, 75-79 are very good and 70-74 are good. Last year, twice as many companies had an “excellent” rating compared to this year.
Industries like technology and retail have garnered a higher reputation since 2011 because they appear to be helping America’s economy, whereas financial services and banking have lower reputations (see “Top 10 despised US companies”). According to the poll, only one in five view corporate America’s reputation as positive, dropping from last year. Take a look at the top 10.
2012 Score: 79.75
2011 Rank/Score: 13 / 80.51
Although it scored lower than last year, UPS moved up in the ranking by three slots. The package delivery company ranked third in emotional appeal with a score of 82.14 — about half a point more than Apple in the same category. In 2010, UPS served about 8.5 million customers daily, delivering about 15.6 million packages and documents.
#9 Microsoft (MSFT)
2012 Score: 79.87
2011 Rank/Score: 16 / 80.16
Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft improved its ranking this year. Placing fourth in workplace environment, the technology corporation recently won the best large company to work for in Ireland for the fourth consecutive year.
#8 Whole Foods Market (WFM)
2012 Score: 80.14
2011 Rank/Score: 17 / 79.57
The “natural and organic” grocery market chain, based in Austin, Texas, jumped up nine spots this year to break into the top 10. It ranked first in the social responsibility category. Each of its stores donates food to local food banks and shelters, and holds community giving days (commonly referred to as 5% days) where they donate 5% of that day’s sales to local educational or non-profit organizations.
#7 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
2012 Score: 80.45
2011 Rank/Score: 2 / 83.13
Dropping down five ranks from last year, Johnson & Johnson still improved slightly in score. In the social responsibility class of the survey, the health care products and pharmaceuticals corporation takes fourth place. Johnson & Johnson has several initiatives around the world to support community-based programs to improve health and well-being, such as an educational summit for young girls in South Africa to discuss HIV.
#6 The Walt Disney Company (DIS)
2012 Score: 81.28
2011 Rank/Score: 10 / 81.04
Climbing up to No. 6 this year, The Walt Disney Company scored in the top five for three different categories: Social responsibility, vision & leadership and financial performance. Though Mickey Mouse has been its icon since its founding in 1923, the media corporation has several properties, including ESPN, the Disney Parks and even the Disney Cruise Line.
#5 Kraft Foods (KFT)
2012 Score: 81.62
2011 Rank/Score: 7 / 81.67
Founded in Chicago in 1903, Kraft Foods placed in the top five for emotional appeal, products & services and workplace environment. Kraft originally began as a wholesale cheese business, but has expanded over the past 100 years to sell various food products ranging from A.1. steak sauce to Dentyne gum to Oreo cookies.
#4 amazon.com (AMZN)
2012 Score: 81.92
2011 Rank/Score: 8 / 81.14
Jumping up four spots to No. 4, amazon.com ranked in the top five for four RQ categories: First in emotional appeal, third in vision & leadership and fifth in both financial performance and products & services. Based in Seattle, amazon.com now has sites for Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom.
#3 The Coca-Cola Company (KO)
2012 Score: 81.99
2011 Rank/Score: 15 / 80.38
Since last year, The Coca-Cola Company shot up 12 spots to take the No. 3 slot. The beverage company also placed second in vision & leadership, third in social responsibility, financial performance and workplace environment and fifth in emotional appeal. With more than 3,500 beverage products, The Coca-Cola Company sells 1.7 billion servings a day in more than 200 countries.
#2 Google (GOOG)
2012 Score: 82.82
2011 Rank/Score: 1 / 84.05
Google placed second in three categories (products & services, financial performance and workplace environment) and fourth in vision & leadership. Started by two Stanford graduate students in the California’s Bay Area, Google now has offices around the world, from Athens to Zurich. The workplace seems casual as offices are stocked with foosball tables, lava lamps and massage chairs.
#1 Apple (APPL)
2012 Score: 85.62
2011 Rank/Score: 5 / 82.05
With the ever-growing popularity of the iPhone and the iPad and the global reaction to Steve Jobs' passing in October, it comes as no surprise that Apple comes out with the highest score. It placed first in four categories and in the top five for the other two. Since 2008, Forbes has named Apple as the most admired company in the country.