While a company’s products are arguably the most important factor for success, there’s a sneakier, second attribute that can make or break a brand: reputation.
Brands earn great reputations by garnering trust from consumers. They appeal to customers’ emotions and support good causes. They treat their employees well and consistently make investors happy.
Using data from the 2015 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient study, FindTheCompany ranked and visualized America’s 10 best companies by reputation.
In order to gather the data, Harris Poll performed two rounds of surveys. In the first survey, they surveyed over 4,000 Americans in order to create a list of America’s 100 most visible companies. Next, they surveyed an additional 27,000 Americans, asking each respondent to rate two companies on the list across six dimensions:
- Vision and Leadership
- Social Responsibility
- Emotional Appeal
- Products and Services
- Workplace Environment
- Financial Performance
Each company’s reputation was then converted into one overall score on a scale of 0 to 100. Harris Poll provided the following guide for these scores:
Guide to RQ Score:
- 80 & Above: Excellent
- 75-79: Very Good
- 70-74: Good
- 65-69: Fair
- 55-64: Poor
- 50-54: Very Poor
- Below 50: Critical
Every company on the list was rated by at least 100 respondents, with the average number of responses per company being 300.
Though Google’s reputation has fallen slightly over the last five years, the company remains one of America’s top 10 respected brands. The company likely suffers a bit from growing data privacy concerns and fallout from NSA surveillance. Overall, however, customers admire the tech titan’s big-picture ambitions and intuitive products, like Search, Chrome, Android and YouTube.
While Apple saw its highest Reputation Quotient the year after Steve Jobs’ death (2012), the company continues to score well across all categories. The massively popular iPhone 6 was by far the best-selling Apple product ever, and investors have heard almost nothing but good news over the last half-dozen quarters. If Apple Music, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch can meet customers’ expectations, Apple will likely remain on this list for years to come.
2015 Reputation Score: 80.73
2015 Ranking: 8/100
For Americans living in the Southeast, Publix is the grocery store of choice, with over 1,000 locations across six states. The Florida-based brand has also grown to become the fourth-largest supermarket chain in America. Famously, the company has never resorted to layoffs to save money, always looking to cut costs through other means—likely a large contributor to its high reputation score.
#7. L.L. Bean
2015 Reputation Score: 80.78
Founded in Maine in 1912, the clothing and outdoor recreation retailer is an American standard. Between the release of its stylish “signature” line in 2010 and recent demand for the “Bean” boot, L.L. Bean still has a knack for making products customers want to wear, more than 100 years later.
The popular grocery store brand has come a long way since it first started making its iconic Macaroni and Cheese. The company now owns a variety of supermarket favorites, from Capri Sun to Jell-O, Oscar Mayer to Kool-Aid. The brand’s growing influence culminated in a merger with Heinz on July 2, 2015. Add to that Kraft’s moves toward social responsibility—including more sustainable packaging providers and decreased use of artificial food dyes—and Kraft’s solid reputation is easy to understand.
#5. Johnson & Johnson
2015 Reputation Score: 80.88
2015 Ranking: 5/100
The owner of Band-Aid, Tylenol and Neutrogena has relentlessly marketed itself as “a family company,” and the campaign continues to pay off. Americans associate the brand with intimacy, friendliness and quality, which builds trust in each of their family health brands.
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2015 Reputation Score: 81.69
2015 Ranking: 4/100
Now the second-largest retailer in the world (behind Walmart), Costco continues to win customers with rock-bottom pricing on anything from groceries to 4K televisions. While the brand’s reputation has been solid for a decade, the last few years have been particularly kind to the membership-only warehouse club. Its Reputation Quotient has risen by five points in just four years.
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2015 Reputation Score: 81.98
2015 Ranking: 3/100
While Samsung’s recent headlines have centered around its wildly popular line of smartphones, the electronics company continues to make critically acclaimed consumer technology across several product lines—from televisions to computer monitors to washing machines. Meanwhile, the recent Galaxy S6 has received some of the company’s best smartphone reviews in years.
2015 Reputation Score: 83.72
Despite Amazon’s checkered history with hardware (see: the Fire Phone), the company remains the single most reliable retailer in the world—an affordable, one-stop-shop for just about any product. And even if some of the company’s gadgets end up flopping, Amazon remains visionary and ambitious. The Echo, an Amazon personal assistant that responds to your voice commands, is just the latest example.
2015 Reputation Score: 84.36
2015 Ranking: 1/100
The mid-Atlantic and New England grocery store chain earns the top spot on the list, with a reputation second to none. Family owned, high quality and admired by its own employees, the company has appeared on many top company lists from publications like Fortune and Consumer Reports.