NEW YORK: BMW took the top spot in the Reputation Institute's global reputation study of corporations, while Google fell to sixth place after two consecutive years as No. 1.
The third annual Global RepTrak 100 examined consumers' views of 100 companies across 15 countries and how corporate reputation affects purchasing behavior. BMW was previously ranked fourth, but increased its position because of its ability to maintain a strong reputation in both local and global markets, said Reputation Institute executive partner Kasper Ulf Nielsen.
The automaker retained Rubenstein and Fleishman-Hillard as agency partners in March after a review.
“BMW has stayed true to its roots as a family run company and built a strong profile through its local dealerships,” Nielsen said. “They demonstrate how to actually be local while maintaining a global presence.”
Google has struggled in that area, with consumer trust declining as the company has grown in size, he said.
“When [Google] first came into the arena, they had a young, entrepreneurial spirit, and they were seen as a company that was breaking the rules,” Nielsen said.
That image has since faded in consumers' eyes, and the company should clarify what it stands for, he added.
With the exception of BMW, many companies have had a difficult time translating a strong corporate reputation abroad, the study found. BMW scored high in 10 out of the 15 countries surveyed, but only 11% of companies have a stronger reputation globally than in their home country.
General Mills, for example, has the best corporate reputation in the US, but ranks No. 67 on the global list.
“Many corporations look at foreign markets only as export markets, and they're not telling their company story,” Nielsen said.