Special Report

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

The Companies With the Best Reputations

10. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)
> Reputation score:
80.4
> 2014 score: 78.4
> Industry: Technology
> CEO: Lawrence E. Page

Of the six reputation dimensions, Google was rated best for its workplace environment. In the competitive tech industry, Google offers numerous employee perks to attract the most qualified workers in a limited applicant pool. In addition to health insurance and benefits, Google offers on-campus amenities such as exercise facilities, as well as free legal advice and reimbursements for further education. Google’s good reputation extends beyond its workforce. According to the ACSI, Google users were more satisfied with Google’s offerings than they were with most other Internet portals and search engines. The Internet behemoth reported revenues of more than $66 billion in 2014 — one of the largest figures in the world and up substantially from the previous year.

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9. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)
> Reputation score:
80.7
> 2014 score: 81.8
> Industry: Technology
> CEO: Timothy D. Cook

While Apple’s reputation among survey respondents fell slightly from last year’s third place, and even further from its first place position in 2012, it is still one of the most favored companies in the nation. Of the six reputation dimensions, the company was rated best for its vision and leadership, trailing only Wegmans Food Markets. The growing popularity and sales of Apple’s products are likely linked to the company’s stellar reputation. According to a Pew Research Center study in 2013, more than half of Americans owned smartphones, a significant portion of which — particularly among people with high incomes — were iPhones. According to Pearce, the iPhone is generally regarded as a high-quality product, but many also regard Apple’s products as overpriced. Apple reported revenues of $182.8 billion in its fiscal 2014, one of the largest sales figures in the world and up from the previous year.

8. Publix Supermarkets
> Reputation score:
80.7
> 2014 score: N/A
> Industry: Supermarket
> CEO: William E. Crenshaw

Publix Supermarkets is one of several companies with the best reputations operating in the retail food industry. It’s the company’s first appearance in the top 10 on the Harris Interactive survey. According to the company’s website, it is the largest employee-owned grocery chain and one of the largest supermarkets nationwide. At the end of 2014, Publix employed 175,000 people, and according to employee rankings at Glassdoor.com, it was recognized as one of the 50 best places to work. The supermarket’s customers also approve of the company. Publix was a long-time leader among U.S. supermarket chains for customer satisfaction. While it fell to third place last year, behind Wegmans and Trader Joe’s, it still has the third-best overall customer satisfaction score.

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7. L.L. Bean
> Reputation score:
80.8
> 2014 score: N/A
> Industry: Clothing retailer
> CEO: Christopher J. McCormick

No other retail apparel company had a better reputation than L.L. Bean. The outdoor clothing retailer was one of the top five companies in two of the six reputation dimensions — emotional appeal and workplace environment. While L.L. Bean is not included in the ACSI, it was ranked first for customer satisfaction by two other research firms, StellaService and ForeSee. L.L. Bean, based in Maine, is over 100 years old and its long history has perhaps solidified its strong reputation among the general public. In addition, many L.L. Bean fans likely appreciate the company’s return-anything policy.

6. Kraft Foods (NASDAQ: KRFT)
> Reputation score:
80.8
> 2014 score: 78.8
> Industry: Food and beverage
> CEO: John T. Cahill

Kraft has improved its reputation significantly, moving from 12th overall in 2013 and 2014 to sixth this year. The consumer packaged food and beverage company is not in the top five in any single dimension of reputation. This means that Kraft performs well across the board, but not exceptionally in any one category. In March, Kraft made a major splash by announcing a merger with famed ketchup manufacturer Heinz. After the deal was announced, the company’s shares jumped more than 30%. Last month, the company announced it would drop the use of preservatives from its kids table and dormroom-favorite macaroni and cheese. The merger and the preservatives announcements could both give the company a boost in next year’s Reputation Quotient.