Wegmans Food Markets, a Rochester, NY-based grocer with just 85 stores and one-tenth of Amazon’s revenues, edged past that online retailer to reach the top spot for corporate reputation among the 100 most visible companies, according to the 16th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient® (RQ) study.
Ranking third on the list, Samsung outperformed all other technology companies, surging past Apple and Google, at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively, and achieving a near-reversal in position from 2012 when Apple was No. 1, Google was No. 2 and Samsung ranked 13th in corporate reputation.
“Reputation is far from static and is a business asset that is earned every day as people evaluate companies through the lens of what matters most to them. Wegmans has spent years building a sterling reputation in the communities they serve, through its employees, one shopping experience at a time,” says Carol M. Gstalder, Reputation & Public Relations Practice Leader for Harris Poll. “Samsung has steadily climbed up the ranks in recent years with consumers rating it among the 5 best on key reputational dimensions of products and services, emotional appeal, financial performance and vision and leadership. Apple’s performance, while still excellent, has fallen 5 points since 2012.”
Harris Poll expanded the list to 100 companies this year, up from 60, to offer deeper insight by industry. As a result, three of the top 10 companies are debuting on the list, including No. 1 Wegmans, No. 7 L.L. Bean and No. 8 Publix Supermarkets. “Expanding the study allows companies to see how they stack up within their industry as well as compared to best in class reputations across industries,” says Gstalder.
The reputations of the 100 most visible companies range from excellent (scores of 80+) to poor (scores of 50 to 64). A total of 12 companies earned excellent scores, including the rest of the top 10 with Costco at No. 4, up from No. 6 in 2014, and No. 5 Johnson & Johnson and No. 6 Kraft, both moving back into the top tier after falling out of it in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Conversely, a total of 16 companies earn a “poor” reputation score, starting with Time Warner at No. 85 and down to Goldman Sachs at No. 100.
JC Penney showed the strongest improvement in the past year as its turnaround strategy gains traction. The Coca-Cola Company, Honda, Hyundai and General Motors experienced the largest declines. Unprecedented automotive recalls explain the reputation hits suffered by General Motors, Honda and Hyundai. Coca-Cola, whose reputation score is in the “very good” range, fell 6.8 points this year, largely due to public perceptions of its products and declining intent to purchase.
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Market sector information is courtesy of Morningstar.