Special Report

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

The Companies with the Best Reputations

10. Costco
> Reputation score: 77.95
> 2012 score: 76.72
> 1-yr. stock performance: 20.7%
> 12 month sales: $101.22 billion

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) ranks as the 10th most reputable company after ranking 19th among the 60 most visible firms in the U.S. last year. Much of this is based on strong customer admiration and respect as the company has the fifth-highest score for emotional appeal in Harris Interactive’s survey. The company’s customer satisfaction score, as measured by the ACSI, also reflects this. No other specialty retailer had a higher RQ score than Costco in 2011, the most recent measurement available. Nearly 75% of customers surveyed in MSN Money and JZ Analytics customer satisfaction survey rated Costco’s service as “great” or “excellent,” while only 4% gave it a “poor” grade. According to Glassdoor, employees also appreciate the company and its leadership, with 83% saying they would recommend the company to a friend and 93% approving of CEO Craig Jelinek.

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9. Procter & Gamble
> Reputation score: 77.98
> 2012 score: 78.09
> 1-yr. stock performance: 12.7%
> 12 month sales: $88.32 billion

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), makers of well-known products such as Gillette shaving razors, Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste, improved from 15th place in last year’s ranking to 9th this year. The company has a solid reputation among both customers and employees. Customers are happy with the company’s service: since 2000, P&G’s ACSI’s score has been in the low- to mid-80s range each year. Company workers are also satisfied with their employer: P&G received a 3.9 out of 5 based on reviews posted on Glassdoor.

8. Sony
> Reputation score: 78.29
> 2012 score: 79.22
> 1-yr. stock performance: -27.2%
> 12 month sales: $84.43 billion

Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has lost traction with both consumers and investors. For years, the company has competed in the digital camera and handheld video games markets, both of which have been threatened by the emergence of the smartphone — where competition is fierce and Sony lacks a competitive offering. In the last 12 months, receipts for shares in Sony have declined 27% in price, and a weak outlook has led to speculation about a possible corporate restructuring. Sony’s brand value declined by 8% in 2012, the fourth consecutive year the company’s brand lost value, according to Interbrand. According to BrandZ, Sony’s lost brand value was even greater in 2012 at 10%. Despite all the headwinds the company is facing, the company continues to excel in consumer service, which more than 85% of consumers rating the company “good” or excellent” in 2012.

7. Whole Foods Market
> Reputation score: 78.65
> 2012 score: 80.14
> 1-yr. stock performance: 18.7%
> 12 month sales: $11.70 billion

Although Whole Foods Market Inc.’s (NASDAQ: WFM) reputation score has declined from 80.14 in 2012 to 78.65 this year, the company’s ranking among the most visible companies has actually improved from eighth- to seventh-most reputable. Helping the company’s reputation is a history of satisfying customers. In both 2010 and 2011 Whole Foods was ranked second in customer satisfaction among all supermarkets by the ACSI. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is hoping to further appeal to a wider range of consumers by lowering prices and stocking more valuable brands than before. The company’s reputation got another boost when it ranked 71st on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and was named by Harris Interactive as the leading company for social responsibility among all of the nation’s most visible companies.

6. Coca-Cola
> Reputation score: 80.39
> 2012 score: 81.99
> 1-yr. stock performance: 9.5%
> 12 month sales: $47.60 billion

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) remained among the top 10 most reputable companies in this year’s report but moved down three slots compared to last year. The world’s largest beverage company’s emotional appeal is very high among consumers, scoring fourth-best in the category, which measures people’s trust and respect of the brand. It is not surprising, then, that the Coke brand is rated by Interbrand as the most valuable in the world. The company’s financial performance also helps its reputation score. Coca-Cola’s share price is up 25% in the past five years, and the company’s last 12 months net income exceeded $9 billion.

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