Special Report

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

Companies with the Best Reputations

10. Sony
> Reputation score: 79.77
> 2013 score: 78.29

While the Japanese electronics giant slipped from its spot as the eighth most reputable company in 2013 to 10th most this year, its reputation score improved slightly. Last year, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) released the PlayStation 4, the largest console launch in video game history. The launch may have helped the company further entrench its reputation. This month, Sony announced it had sold 7 million PlayStation 4 units. In January, Microsoft reported that it had only sold 3 million of its competing Xbox units through the end of 2013. Additionally, nearly 35% of consumers rated Sony’s customer service as “excellent”, according Zogby Analytics, more than most other major companies. Still, Sony may not be the consumer products behemoth it once was. Apple and Samsung, for instance, received higher ratings from consumers for the reputation of their products and services. According to Interbrand, the value of Sony’s brand has fallen considerably and is worth barely half of what it was in 2000.

9. Microsoft
> Reputation score: 80.11
> 2013 score: 76.46

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) improved its reputation, ranking ninth this year after missing the top 10 in 2013. Despite the unsuccessful recent launch of its Xbox One gaming console, the public and investors still consider the software giant favorably. In the third quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year 2014, the company reported $20.39 billion in revenue and 63 cents earnings per share, both in line with analysts’ expectations. The company’s consistently strong results may be why it was ranked among the top five for the Harris Poll’s financial performance measure. In addition to financial performance, Microsoft also ranked high for workplace environment and social responsibility.

8. Whole Foods Market
> Reputation score: 80.45
> 2013 score: 78.65

More than 31% of Whole Foods customers gave the company an “excellent” rating for customer service last year, a higher score than over two-thirds of companies reviewed by Zogby Analytics. Despite this high mark, the company’s customer service, as well as customer satisfaction measured by the ACSI, trailed other grocers. No company reviewed by the Harris Poll scored better for social responsibility than Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM). The company supports a number of causes, including, GMO labelling and the humane treatment of animals. Whole Foods also ranked 23rd among all retailers for brand value this year in a study by Interbrand, and 13th among retailers according to a similar study by BrandZ. Both groups cited the company’s commitment to healthy and organic food as a major source of brand value.

7. Samsung
> Reputation score: 80.65
> 2013 score: 77.70

Like many of the companies with the best reputation, Samsung is a market leader in several product categories. The Korean electronics giant has the largest market share in both the smartphone and flat screen TV segments. Customer satisfaction among Samsung consumers has also been improving. The company’s ACSI score improved considerably between 2012 and 2013. More than 36% of Samsung customers said their experience with the company was “excellent” last year according to a Zogby Analytics study. Globally, Samsung smartphones are by-far the most popular, accounting for more than 30% of all shipments in the first quarter of 2014. This was nearly double the next-closest competitor, Apple.

6. Costco
> Reputation score: 80.75
> 2013 score: 77.95

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is one of the top-rated companies in the nation in both overall company reputation and the Harris Poll’s emotional appeal measure, which gauges the degree to which shoppers admire, trust and feel good about the company. Many customers love the discount retailer because of the unique shopping experience — Costco’s inventory of steeply discounted bulk items is always changing. For these reasons, no specialty retail company had a better ACSI score. Costco’s brand appears to also benefit from the industry-beating wages it pays its employees and the employee benefits it provides. Costco ranked 14th among retailers for brand value last year, according to Interbrand, and 12th among retailers, according to BrandZ.

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