The best corporate reputation for a U.S. company doesn’t belong to Apple, Google, Disney or even Amazon (who took that honor last year). According to the Harris Poll, the reputation king in 2015 is…Wegmans?
If you don’t live in the northeastern U.S., you can be forgiven for not recognizing the name. But the 85-store grocery chain edged out Amazon in Harris’s annual “Reputation Quotient” report, which surveys more than 27,000 consumers about the reputations of highly visible U.S. companies in area like vision and leadership, corporate responsibility, and emotional appeal.
“Wegmans has steadily built a strong reputation through visionary leadership, employee alignment and an exceptional customer experience,” the report said. Wegmans just edged out Amazon, which had the best reputation in the 2013 and 2014 reports.
The rest of the 2015 top 10 were:
Samsung (#7 last year)
Johnson & Johnson (#16)
Kraft Foods (#12)
Like Wegmans, L.L. Bean and Publix didn’t even crack the top 60 most visible U.S. companies in the 2014 report. This year, Harris expanded the survey to include the 100 most visible companies.
“Expanding the study allows companies to see how they stack up within their industry, as well as compared to best in class reputations across industries,” said Carol Gstalder, reputation and public relations practice leader for Harris Poll.
Dropping out of the top 10 in last year’s list were Coca-Cola (now #34), Disney (#12), Honda (#29), Whole Foods (#21), Microsoft (#15) and Sony (#13). The report noted that in the past five years, eight companies show the biggest declines in reputation: Monsanto, BP, McDonald’s, Sears, Walmart, Toyota, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Meanwhile, the biggest reputational improvements from last year were for JCPenney, whose turnaround efforts appear to be taking hold, the report said; Sprint, which is also slowly moving through a corporate turnaround; and BP and Bank of America, who were at the very bottom of the list last year. This year, they’re respectively at #90 and #91 out of 100.
Banks are still struggling to repair their reputations in the wake of the financial crisis and recession. According to Harris, bank reputations overall have improved, but they’re still lower than for any business sector except tobacco and government. Technology companies had the best reputation as a group.