Corporate Reputation Study: Amazon and Apple No Longer Rule

Surprising results from the latest Harris Poll

timcook-300x258When we think of the biggest leaders (and losers) in corporate reputation, we often think of major brands and large companies rather than smaller regional businesses. And if someone were to ask us to guess which brands are likely to take the top spots in such a ranking, we’d probably name reliable stand-bys like Amazon or Apple. But the results of Harris Poll’s 2015 Reputation Quotient challenge both of these assumptions.

This year’s poll measured the reputations of the 100 most visible companies, scoring them on a scale from excellent (scores of 80+) to poor (scores of 50 to 64). While many brands moved up and down the list (see full rankings here), two of the most notable moves were these:

  • 2014’s top spot went, predictably, to Amazon — but the cyber shopping giant has been nudged out of the number one ranking by Wegmans Food Markets, a Rochester, NY-based grocer with only 85 stores and a mere tenth of Amazon’s revenues.

Wegman’s does have a secret weapon: Alec Baldwin.

  • Meanwhile, Samsung, which took the third overall spot, far surpassed all other technology companies, including Apple and Google, which ranked at No. 9 and No. 10 respectively.

This marks a major reversal from 2012, when Apple was No. 1, Google was No. 2 and Samsung ranked 13th.

“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,” said Carol M. Gstalder, reputation and public relations practice leader for Harris Poll.

The results of this study, as Ms. Gstalder points out, illuminate a fundamental truth that guides PR professionals and perception specialists at every turn: success in the realm of reputation is always a moving target; earning the public’s trust and respect might mean landing the top spot, but keeping it requires constant maintenance.

At least that means we PR pros will never be obsolete, right? Upside!