ROCHESTER, NY: Ben & Jerry's, once an example of how good corporate
reputation can breed sales, is the most prominent loser in the latest
survey on the subject from Harris Interactive and the Reputation
The ice cream company, owned by Unilever since May 2000, plummeted to 30
from its number-five slot in last year's survey.
Coca-Cola also lost significant ground, dropping from second place in
last year's survey to 16 this year. This mirrors Coca-Cola's fall in
Fortune magazine's reputation survey released last week (see Analysis,
Three technology firms were among those with lower reputation rankings,
a move consistent with their falling stock prices. Gateway,
Hewlett-Packard and Xerox all fell from the top 10.
Companies that rose in the eyes of the 26,011 consumers who took part in
the poll included Sony, Anheuser-Busch, IBM and Procter & Gamble.
Maytag went straight to second place after failing to even make the
ranking last year, while Johnson & Johnson clung to its top spot.
Whereas the Fortune study measures corporate reputation as judged by
industry executives and analysts, the Harris poll is based on consumers'
opinions. Respondents were asked to rate the companies according to six
categories. Although Johnson & Johnson rated number one in both
emotional appeal, and products and services, and second for workplace
environment and social responsibility, it scored much lower when judged
on vision and leadership, and financial performance.
Microsoft, despite only ranking ninth overall, scored the highest in the
vision and leadership, and financial performance categories.
This is the second survey by the Reputation Institute, which aims to
show a link between reputation and market value.
Charles Fombrum is professor of management at the Stern School of New
York University, and one of the founders of the Reputation
He pointed out that firms that climbed up the ranking in this year's
study made an average 8% gain in market value over the past year. Those
that fell suffered an average 28% decrease in capitalization.
See Editorial, p.10
THE BEST REPS
The following list presents the 10 companies with the best reputations
according to surveyed Americans
1 1 Johnson & Johnson
2 * Maytag
3 18 Sony
4 8 Home Depot
5 4 Intel
6 14 Anheuser-Busch
7 17 IBM
8 10 Disney
9 15 Microsoft
10 22 Procter & Gamble
Source: Harris Interactive, the Reputation Institute
* not rated in 1999