Few Tech Companies Figure Among America’s Most Reputable

March 23, 2018

Tech companies might dominate the list of America’s most valuable brands, but they don’t have quite the same impact when it comes to reputation factors. In fact, only one of the top 10 most reputable companies in the US is a tech brand, according to the latest annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ).

Of course, that brand happens to be one that leads them all: Amazon. With its overall RQ score of 83.22, Amazon maintains its lead from last year, though its score did dip. It’s closely challenged by Wegmans (82.75), which was also last year’s runner-up.

Rounding out the top 5 this year are:

  • Tesla Motors (81.96, up from #9 last year);
  • Chick-fil-A (81.68, up from #25 last year); and
  • The Walt Disney Company (81.53, up from #7 last year).

The Walt Disney Company also happens to be the most “powerful” brand in the world this year, according to a separate analysis from Brand Finance.

To arrive at its rankings, the Harris poll RQ study first identifies the 100 most visible companies as identified by US consumers. It then ranks them on their reputation in 6 categories: Emotional Appeal; Products & Services; Social Responsibility; Vision & Leadership; Workplace Environment; and Financial Performance.

Looking at the most valuable tech brands in the US (as ranked by BrandZ and WPP) and where they fall in the overall rankings reveals that:

  • Google sits at #28 with a score of 78.6;
  • Apple is right on its heels at #29, with a near-identical score of 78.56;
  • Amazon is of course first on the list;
  • Microsoft fares relatively well at 11th (80.42); and
  • Facebook is the worst-performer of the lot, in 51st (74.07).

That Facebook is so far down the list is not a surprise: of the big tech companies in the US, it’s the only one that doesn’t do well in public perception. It’s not looking good on that front these days, either…

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Netflix had a fairly solid showing, in at 21st with a score of 79.3, just below the threshold of excellence (80 and above) that was achieved by only 14 companies.

As for the worst companies? This list usually features ones embroiled in some sort of scandal, and this year is no different: Takata (45.17), culprit in what has been reportedly called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history,” had the worst rating of the 100 most visible companies.

The second-worst company on the list is the Weinstein Company (52.48), there for obvious reasons. And there’s nothing like a breach to ruin a reputation: Equifax is the third-worst (55.56). As for the Trump Organization? It’s the 5th-worst of the 100 companies identified, with a score of 57.94.

Which Companies Lead in Which Dimension?

Certain companies are stronger in some dimensions of corporate reputation than others. Here are some highlights from each of the 6 dimensions that factor in to the overall ratings.

Products & Services

Amazon leads here with a high score of 85.5, followed by Tesla Motors (84.5) and Wegmans (83.8). Microsoft (82.5) is the only other tech company in the top 10 for products and services.

Vision & Leadership

Tesla (85.1) shines here, edging Amazon (84.6) for the lead. Berkshire Hathaway (#3; 83.7) and The Walt Disney Company (#4; 83.4) are also strong performers, with Microsoft coming in 6th.

Emotional Appeal

Another victory for Amazon (83.5) here, though it’s the only tech company to be in the top 10 on this measure, as food and grocery companies dot the list. Following Amazon are Chick-fil-A (83), UPS (82.6), Wegmans (82.6), Aldi (82.3) and Publix Super Markets (82.3), with Costco and HEB Grocery also in the top 10.

Workplace Environment

Wegmans (83.3) takes the lead in this component, followed by Chick-fil-A (82.7) and Tesla (82.5). Microsoft (81.2) actually beats Amazon (81) in this metric, as the last two entrants to the top 10.

Financial Performance

Hard to argue with Amazon (85.4) here as the leader, though one would expect more tech companies on this list. Instead it’s The Walt Disney Company (83.9) sitting in second, with Berkshire Hathaway (83.1) next. Microsoft (81) comes in tenth.

Social Responsibility

Interestingly enough Tesla Motors (83.3) leads in the CSR component of the rankings, followed by Wegmans (82.3) and Whole Foods Market (82.2). No tech company made the list of the top 10 companies by social responsibility, and it was the only component in which Amazon was not within the top 10.

The full rankings are available to view here.

About the Data: Harris describes its methodology in part as as follows:

“The Annual RQ study begins with a Nomination Phase which is used to identify the companies with the most ‘visible’ reputations according to the General Public. All respondents are asked to name companies that stand out as having the best and worst reputations overall.

Nominations from all interviews are tallied with subsidiaries and brand names collapsed within the parent company. Online nominations are summed to create a total number of nominations for each company. The final list of the 100 most visible companies in the U.S. is measured in the RQ Ratings Section.

The Nominations Phase of the study was conducted among 4,244 U.S, adults across two intervals, from Oct 9th – 11th, 2017 and Oct 26th – 30th, 2017.

The RQ Ratings phase survey is conducted online in English and takes place among the general public, adults 18+. Respondents are randomly assigned to rate two of the companies with which they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ familiar. After the first company rating is completed, the respondent is given the option to rate the second company. Each interview lasts approximately 20 minutes. This year’s rating interviews took place online between December 11th and January 12th, 2018 among 25,800 U.S. adults to obtain an average of approximately 300 ratings per company. An RQ score is developed for each company, calculated by: [ (Sum of ratings of each of the 20 attributes)/(the total number of attributes answered x 7) ] x 100.

The maximum RQ score is 100. RQ performance ranges are as follows: 80 & above: Excellent | 75-79: Very Good | 70-74: Good | 65-69: Fair | 55-64: Poor | 50-54: Very Poor | Below 50: Critical.

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