NEW YORK: Amazon is the most reputable company in the US, according to the sixth annual list from advisory firm Reputation Institute (RI), in partnership with Forbes Media.
It is the first time an online company and retailer has topped the 150 Most Reputable Companies rankings. Rounding out the top 10 are Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Kellogg, UPS, FedEx, Sara Lee, Google, and The Walt Disney Co.
This list is based on RI's US RepTrak Pulse Study, which measures trust, esteem, admiration, and good feelings consumers have towards the largest 150 companies based on revenue in the US. The ratings are analyzed from nearly 33,000 online consumer responses taken in January and February.
Anthony Johndrow, RI's managing partner, said the most regarded companies understand the need to build trust in their leaders and business strategy. That's why Amazon in part ascended to the top spot, from 21st in 2010, he said.
“People can understand their business model, which is a little unusual in today's world,” said Johndrow. “And Amazon really takes pains to establish solid governance rules so the free-for-all, Wild West the Internet has become in some arenas, feels like a place where you can conduct transactions and get fair value in a safe environment.”
Dean Foods, PepsiCo and Microsoft all fell out of the top 10. Microsoft recorded the steepest drop, falling out of the top 20. The least reputable companies on the list were dominated by financial services companies: Freddie Mac, AIG and Fannie Mae.
To determine what separates companies' reputations, RI conducted a second study which asked “chief reputation officers” (the C-suite) from the 150 companies about the challenges they face.
The study found companies with excellent reputations were 2.5 times more likely to put their CEO in charge of positioning and telling the corporate story.
“Another best practice, and a starker one, is that highly-regarded companies are 15 times more likely to manage reputation across company functions,” said Johndrow. “For a company to be in the top 10, it has to have a very holistic approach to reputation that is led from the top down.”
The study also found they were 1.5 times more likely to include reputation metrics as part of their senior management dashboard, and 1.7 times more likely to seek outside assistance with corporate reputation management.
A complete list of the findings is available on RI's website.