The Harris Poll Releases Annual Reputation Rankings For The 100 Most Visible Companies In The U.S.

Amazon Reclaims First Place; Volkswagen Group Sinks to the Bottom; USAA and Kellogg Company Mark Their Debut on Corporate Reputation Top Ten

07:00 AM EST Feb 18, 2016 Rating
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The Harris Poll Releases Annual Reputation Rankings For  The 100 Most Visible Companies In The U.S.

NEW YORK – The Harris Poll® today released its 17th annual Reputation Quotient® (RQ®) Summary Report, revealing corporate reputation ratings for the 100 most visible companies in the U.S., as perceived by the general public. Amazon reclaimed the top spot, marking the eighth consecutive year the online retailer has ranked in the top ten, while Volkswagen Group dropped to the bottom. 

The top ten companies for corporate reputation in 2016 are (in order): Amazon, Apple, Google, USAA, The Walt Disney Company, Publix Super Markets, Samsung, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson, and Kellogg Company. USAA and Kellogg Company are newcomers to the RQ top ten, while Berkshire Hathaway returns to the top ten for the first time since 2008 and The Walt Disney Company returns after slipping to #12 in 2015. The Harris Poll 2016 Reputation Quotient Summary Report can be found at www.theharrispoll.com/reputation-quotient.

“Best-in-class companies demonstrate that corporate reputation matters – to your customers, employees, potential hires, business partners and investors,” said Sarah Simmons, senior reputation consultant at Nielsen, which owns The Harris Poll. “Not only does it matter, but corporate reputation is critically important to measure and understand in the context of your company’s business goals. A positive reputation can provide competitive advantages and help your company achieve its objectives while a poor one can obstruct your ability to execute against your business plan.”

The RQ, an important baseline for managing reputation and identifying new market risks and opportunities, measures companies’ reputation strength based on the perceptions of more than 23,000 Americans across 20 attributes classified into six corporate reputation dimensions: Social Responsibility, Emotional Appeal, Products and Services, Vision and Leadership, Financial Performance, and Workplace Environment. The reputations of the 100 most visible U.S. companies range from “excellent” (scores of 80+) to “very poor “(scores of 50 to 54). In this year’s study, the top nine companies earned “excellent” scores and 35 companies received “very good” scores.

Most Prominent Declines

In light of its recent emissions scandal, Volkswagen Group declined steeply, dropping 20.5 points overall from a “very good” (75.21) score in 2015[1] to a “very poor” (54.75) rating in 2016. The only company to receive a “very poor” RQ rating this year, Volkswagen Group also fell more than 25 points on Emotional Appeal (includes attributes of trust, admiration and respect) and 20 points on Social Responsibility (includes attributes of environmental and community responsibility).

CVS (-5.0) and Starbucks (-4.6) also experienced declines, dropping from “very good” to “good” ratings. JCPenney, which showed the largest RQ increase in 2015, fell four points to a “poor” RQ score.

Opinion Elites = Information Seekers and Proactive Influencers

Each company in the RQ study was also rated by Opinion Elites, a sub-segment of the general public who are more informed, more engaged and more involved in current issues. Because of this interest, Opinion Elites tend to exert influence over the general public. UPS, Costco, Meijer, The Coca-Cola Company, and BMW have a better reputation among Opinion Elites than the general public and all appear on the Opinion Elites’ top ten. USAA, The Walt Disney Company, Publix Super Markets, Samsung and Johnson & Johnson ¾companies on the general public’s top ten list¾ do not appear on the Opinion Elites’ top ten.

“Eighty percent of the companies in the RQ study have a better reputation with Opinion Elites than among the general public,” said Simmons. “Companies that have a lower RQ rating with Opinion Elites than with the general public have had significant and high-profile reputational issues in recent times, reinforcing the lesson that having a plan and managing communications with this highly influential audience is essential.”

The Harris Poll 2016 Reputation Quotient Top Ten

General Public

Opinion Elites

1. Amazon

1. Apple

2. Apple

2. Amazon

3. Google

3. Google

4. USAA

4. Kellogg Company

5. The Walt Disney Company

5. UPS

6. Publix Super Markets, Inc.

6. Costco

7. Samsung

7. Meijer

8. Berkshire Hathaway

8. The Coca-Cola Company

9. Johnson & Johnson

9. Berkshire Hathaway

10. Kellogg Company

10. BMW

Companies that have a lower RQ score with Opinion Elites than the general public include: Hobby Lobby, Halliburton, Bank of America and Walmart.

Consumers are Doing their Homework

According to the RQ study, nearly three-fourths (72%) of Opinion Elites say they investigate corporate behavior before buying, while more than half (53%) of the general public indicated they proactively seek information about the companies they do business with. Fifty-seven percent of Opinion Elites say they’ve decided not to do business with a company because of something they learned about how it conducts itself while more than one-third (37%) of the general public indicated the same.

“Corporate America take note: the majority of U.S. consumers are seeking information about your practices, and in some cases, rejecting companies they interact with because of what they learn,” said Simmons. “Putting muscle behind messages that support your reputational equity with the public has never been more important.”

Most Damaging, Least Damaging Scenarios to Corporate Reputation

According to Harris Poll’s report, the biggest risks to corporate reputation are lying or misrepresenting facts about a product or service, or intentional wrongdoing or illegal actions by corporate leaders; both scenarios were cited by 80 percent of Americans surveyed. Other risks to reputation damage include security or data breaches (74%), product recalls due to contamination that may cause illness (66%) and unfair workplace conditions and culture (64%).

Twenty-five percent of Americans say that employee strikes or work stoppages are “not at all damaging” or “not very damaging” to corporate reputation. Other scenarios that are less damaging include employee conduct (20%), a product recall due to technical or equipment failure (15%), negative financial news about the company (12%) and safety-related product recalls (11%).

Methodology

The 2016 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient was conducted online in English, among more than 23,000 U.S. respondents from November 13 - December 24, 2015, with preliminary nominating waves of research conducted among 4,078 respondents from September 8 -10 and October 6 – 8, 2015. The Annual RQ study begins with a Nomination Phase, which is used to identify the companies with the most "visible" reputations. All respondents are asked, unaided, to name companies that stand out as having the best and worst reputations. Online nominations are summed to create a total number of nominations for each company. The final list of the 100 most visible companies in the U.S. is measured in the RQ Ratings Phase. In the ratings phase, respondents are randomly assigned to rate two of the companies with which they are "very" or "somewhat" familiar.  After the first company rating is completed, the respondent is given the option to rate the second company. Companies are rated on their reputation on 20 different attributes that comprise the Reputation Quotient instrument. The attributes are grouped into six different reputation dimensions: Emotional Appeal, Financial Performance, Products and Services, Social Responsibility, Vision and Leadership, and Workplace Environment.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll and sample partner surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in an online panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Use of such trademarks does not constitute or imply any sponsorship or endorsement.

About The Harris Poll

Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers' motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Nielsen acquired The Harris Poll in 2014. Contact us for more information.

The Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Summary Report results disclosed in this press release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Poll.

 

The Harris Poll 2016 Reputation Quotient

The Reputations of the 100 Visible Companies in the U.S. Among the General Public

 

Guide to RQ Scores: 80 & above: Excellent | 75-79: Very Good | 70-74: Good | 65-69: Fair

55-64: Poor | 50-54: Very Poor | Below 50:  Critical

2016 RQ Rank

RQ Score

1

Amazon.com

83.96

2

Apple

83.03

3

Google

82.97

4

USAA

81.27

5

The Walt Disney Company

81.18

6

Publix Super Markets

80.94

7

Samsung

80.44

8

Berkshire Hathaway

80.37

9

Johnson & Johnson

80.23

10

Kellogg Company

79.92

11

The Vanguard Group*

79.76

12

FedEx Corporation

79.60

13

Costco

79.53

14

The Clorox Company*

79.40

15

Procter & Gamble Co.

79.39

16

General Mills

79.18

17

Honda Motor Company

79.16

18

The Coca-Cola Company

78.96

19

Nestle

78.83

20

Microsoft

78.57

21

Meijer

78.50

22

UPS*

78.22

23

Chick-fil-A

78.18

24

Netflix*

77.98

25

The Kraft Heinz Company**

77.94

26

Lowe's

77.65

27

Sony

77.58

28

Nike

77.50

29

Aldi

77.49

30

Whirlpool Corporation

77.23

31

eBay

76.51

32

Best Buy

76.46

33

BMW*

76.37

34

Fidelity Investments

76.26

35

The Kroger Company

75.68

36

Southwest Airlines

75.64

37

Nordstrom

75.58

38

The Home Depot

75.55

39

American Express

75.53

40

IBM

75.43

41

LG Corporation

75.32

42

Kohl's

75.04

43

Yum! Brands

75.00

44

Whole Foods Market

75.00

45

CVS (CVS Health)

74.88

46

Kaiser Permanente*

74.83

47

Unilever

74.82

48

Walgreens

74.69

49

Target

74.24

50

Ford Motor Company

74.10

51

Tyson Foods*

74.09

52

General Electric

73.97

53

Hobby Lobby

73.37

54

Hewlett-Packard Company

72.93

55

The Allstate Corporation

72.80

56

Dell

72.76

57

State Farm Insurance

72.73

58

Macy's

72.40

59

PepsiCo

72.22

60

Facebook

72.09

61

Discover Financial Services*

71.67

62

Starbucks Corporation

71.67

63

Toyota Motor Corporation

71.50

64

Chipotle*

71.00

65

Safeway

70.88

66

United States Postal Service

70.86

67

Verizon Communications

70.30

68

21st Century Fox

70.28

69

AT&T

69.74

70

Wells Fargo & Company

69.73

71

Chevron

69.20

72

Walmart

69.09

73

T-Mobile

68.46

74

Royal Dutch Shell

68.24

75

Delta Air Lines

68.13

76

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

67.93

77

JCPenney

67.64

78

Capital One Financial Corp.*

67.47

79

Burger King

67.16

80

Cox Enterprises*

67.02

81

General Motors

66.27

82

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

66.07

83

United Airlines

65.99

84

McDonald's

65.78

85

ExxonMobil

65.42

86

Koch Industries

65.32

87

Sprint Corporation

65.18

88

Time Warner Cable**

64.85

89

Citigroup

64.80

90

Charter Communications

64.78

91

Sears Holdings Corporation

64.69

92

Bank of America

64.26

93

Dish Network

62.22

94

AIG

61.15

95

Goldman Sachs

60.44

96

Monsanto

60.43

97

Comcast

60.21

98

BP

59.13

99

Halliburton

56.26

100

Volkswagen Group*

54.75

*New to Most Visible List this year (not in 100 Most Visible 2015)

**Name change in 2016 (measured as “Kraft Foods Inc.” and “Time Warner” in prior years)

 

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[1] Volkswagen Group was measured in the background in 2015 as it did not qualify as one of the 100 most visible companies.

 

 

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