Special Report

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

The Best Reputations

10. Kellogg Company (NYSE: K)
> Reputation score:
> 2015 score: 79.25
> Industry: Food manufacturing
> CEO: John A. Bryant

Kellogg has the best reputation of any major food manufacturing company. The Kellogg Company has been around for more than a century, and it is credited with pioneering the American cereal industry. The inaugural batch of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was created in 1906, and the company has since expanded to own and operate about 30 brands, with Special K, Cheez-It, Pringles, Keebler, and Eggo among them. Customer satisfaction appears to be very important to brand reputation. On the ACSI, Kellogg ranks far higher than the food manufacturing industry as a whole.

9. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
> Reputation score:
> 2015 score: 80.88
> Industry: Personal care products
> CEO: Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson is perhaps unusual among the brands with the best reputations in that while it does sell products branded with its name, it also sells a variety of other brands. The company is one of the nation’s largest diversified brand companies, producing a variety of the most well-known medical, personal care, and other consumer products. Some of the company’s perhaps best known products include Band-Aid, Tylenol, Neosporin, and Listerine. The company’s reputation, while still stellar for a highly visible brand, has fallen slightly since last year, dropping from fifth overall in the 2015 Harris Reputation Survey to ninth in 2016.

8. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B)
> Reputation score:
> 2015 score: 80.28
> Industry: Holding company
> CEO: Warren Buffett

While the financial services industry has among the worst reputations of any industry, Berkshire Hathaway bucks the trend. This may not be surprising considering that Berkshire Hathaway, while categorized as a financial services company, is really a large conglomerate with holdings in many industries, including insurance, utilities, and railroad. In a biennial memo sent to staff two years ago, CEO Warren Buffett identified reputation as the company’s priority. Buffett wrote, “We can afford to lose money — even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation — not a shred of reputation.” Much of Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation is tied to that of its CEO — the legendary investor has not shied away from public life and is also considered one of the greatest philanthropists today. The company is also revered for its financial performance. Over the last 50 years, Berkshire Hathaway has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 10% annually.

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