Amazon tops Harris Poll's corporate reputation list; Volkswagen hits bottom

Apple, Google, USAA, and Disney rounded out the top five.

(Image via Amazon's Twitter page).
(Image via Amazon's Twitter page).

NEW YORK: Some brands, such as Amazon, have powered through adversity better than others in the past year, most notably Volkswagen, according to a ranking of the most reputable US brands by the Harris Poll.

The organization released its Reputation Quotient Summary Report on Thursday, showing the online retailer at the top of the list. The report ranked 100 of the most visible companies in the US, according to public perception. It considered social responsibility, emotional appeal products and services, vision and leadership, financial performance, and workplace environment.

The top 10 most reputable companies in 2016, in order, are Amazon.com, Apple, Google, USAA, Disney, Publix Super Markets, Samsung, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson, and Kellogg, according to the poll.

Last year, Samsung had the edge over Apple, and Wegmans, which did not crack the top 10 in 2016, bested Amazon for first place.

Volkswagen ranked last on the list of 100 for 2016.

Sarah Simmons, senior reputation consultant at Nielsen, the parent company of the Harris Poll, said Amazon is "best in class in a lot of ways."

"They rank in the top five on all of the attributes on six dimensions," she said.

Harris Poll looked at factors that hurt companies, with 80% of respondents saying both "lying or misrepresenting the facts about a product or service" and "intentional wrongdoing or illegal actions by company leaders" are very or extremely damaging. Forty-five percent also said negative financial news and product recalls were damaging.

"It’s important to proactively manage reputation. It really translates into market value for your business," said Simmons. She added that reputation is "not static," and a one-off outreach effort isn’t going to drive long-term impact. Instead, Simmons recommended companies embrace transparency, accountability, and honesty.

She added that companies with good standing in their communities also have strong ties to the media, which helps when a crisis hits because they can more easily share their message. Simmons noted that companies must also factor in the way companies are seen by influencers.

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