ROCHESTER, NY: A company's reputation could have been affected by
how it responded to September 11, as well as how it communicates its
charitable work, according to a new survey by Harris Interactive.
The survey also showed a decline in the reputation of many technology
For the third year running, Johnson & Johnson was judged the most
reputable company in America, according to Harris' third annual
reputation quotient (RQ) survey.
Microsoft and Coca-Cola came in second and third, respectively, both
improving their positions from last year.
Harris first surveyed a group to find the 60 most nominated companies,
and then polled 21,630 people online to rank those 60 companies from
October 2-23, 2001. Last year's survey ranked only 45 companies in the
Bridgestone/Firestone was ranked last in terms of reputation - as it was
last year - and Philip Morris was second to last.
Joy Sever, SVP and director of Harris' reputation practice, said that
one of the problems companies have in relation to reputation is that
many people are not aware of their charitable activities.
"There is a lack of information that people have about what corporations
are doing in the way of good deeds," she said. "But many companies feel
they are communicating what they are doing, or feel that more people
Attitudes toward companies' responsiveness to September 11 were also
evaluated. The result was that many of those surveyed gave favorable
ratings to companies in such areas as emotional appeal, financial
performance, products, vision, and social responsibility.
Sever said the results demonstrate that companies need to be careful
that they are addressing charitable and other reputation-related issues
internally, before communicating with the public.
"The public is very perceptive. They guide behavior, and it's a lot more
important and complicated than most people realize."
Bucking the downward moves of many tech companies was one surprising
result: Hewlett-Packard, which last year ranked in the 20th spot, this
year leapt to number seven overall.
The result is particularly significant in the context of its proposed
merger with Compaq, which was not met with universal approval when
announced in September.
Dell also showed significant gains, moving from 25th to 13th in a
But Lucent, Gateway, and IBM all finished lower on the table.
MOST REPUTABLE US COMPANIES
2001 Ranking Reputation 2000 Ranking
1 Johnson & Johnson 82.5 1 Johnson & Johnson
2 Microsoft 81.8 2 Maytag
3 Coca-Cola 80.8 3 Sony
4 Intel 80.8 4 Home Depot
5 3M 80.2 5 Intel
6 Sony 79.4 6 Anheuser-Busch
7 Hewlett-Packard 79.2 7 IBM
8 Federal Express 78.3 8 Disney
9 Maytag 78.1 9 Microsoft
10 IBM 78.1 10 Procter & Gamble
SOURCE: Harris Interactive
NOTE: 2000 results did not include a reputation quotient