“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,” says Carol M. Gstalder, Reputation & Public Relations Practice Leader for Harris Poll, which released its corporate reputation rankings in February.
And my, have things have changed over the past year.
In 2014, the rankings were topped by two of the biggest and most-beloved (or hated) tech companies in the world: Apple and Google. This year? Well, thanks have taken a turn away from the tech industry, with neither of those companies cracking the top five. Through building their reputations and serving their communities, this year’s top choices have had a long, winding road to the top — or so says Gstalder.
The entire list itself consists of 100 companies, which is as expansive as the poll has ever been, and up from 60 in previous years. “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,” Gstalder said.
To develop the rankings, Harris Interactive conducted an online survey of more than 27,000 Americans in the summer and fall of last year. Businesses were then assigned a score based on their feedback, and the top 100 was compiled from there.
Did your favorite company make the list? Again, for the full rankings, head over to Harris Interactive and plow through the data. For the condensed version, read on to see America’s five absolute favorites.
5. Johnson & Johnson
Nearly everyone grew up using some sort of Johnson & Johnson product — whether it be shampoo, bandages, or anything else — and it appears that after all of these years, the company’s reputation is still keeping it relevant. For a business founded in 1886, Johnson & Johnson has had quite the run, and there is no indication that it will slow down any time soon. The company clearly lays out its commitment to sustainability, as well as its Credo Values for all to see, and they both resonate well with consumers, evidently.
There’s a lot to be said about Costco, the warehouse-club big box retailer that stands in stark contrast to other businesses like Wal-Mart. The company has earned heaps of praise over the years, and with good reason. They pay their employees well, offer lots of benefits, have a number of sustainability programs in place, and somehow remains very affordable. The Pacific northwest-based company has built a reputation after decades of hard work, and it has earned them the businesses of millions. Costco jumped up two spots in the poll this year, from number six in 2014.
Samsung has made some terrific strides in public perception over the years. In 2015, the company managed to usurp both Google and Apple to land in the top five of Harris’ rankings, despite not being anywhere close last year. ” “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,” said Gstalder. Samsung has done a lot to increase sustainability, and to become a better corporate citizen in the business world — and clearly consumers are taking notice.
It’s hard not to like the company that revolutionized e-commerce and Internet retail — and also plans to deliver your orders with drones, or even 3D-print them in the backs of trucks. Amazon has truly changed the game, and along with several sustainability initiatives, is also doing a lot to push the envelope in terms of developing new technology, and experimenting with new business ideas. While there are some gripes about the company — it is a huge tech corporation, after all — it’s hard to deny that Amazon has etched a special place in the hearts of America’s consumers.
1. Wegman’s Food Markets
For those of you lucky enough to live in an area with a Wegman’s market, you’re probably not surprised to see the company’s name at the top of the list. “Wegmans has spent years building a sterling reputation in the communities they serve, through its employees, one shopping experience at a time,” said Gstalder about the grocery chain, which will be celebrating its 100th birthday next year. The company was originally founded in Rochester, NY, and has since spread through the east coast. Known for its quality products, friendly service, and competitive prices, Wegman’s has been setting the bar high for the grocery industry — and will likely continue to do so — for years to come.
For the whole list, the complete Harris Interactive Poll can be found here.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger