Special Report

Companies With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

Apple Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Apple
> 2017 reputation score: 82.07
> 2016 reputation score: 83.03
> Industry: Consumer electronics
> CEO: Tim Cook

Apple is one of four Silicon Valley corporations to rank among the companies with the best reputations. Apple’s broad appeal is exemplified by the ubiquity of some of its products. Over 90 million Americans owned an iPhone last year — comprising a 43.5% share of the domestic smartphone market. Apple may have also scored social responsibility points with some American consumers, and lost points with others when, early last year, the company controversially refused to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino massacre shooter for the FBI. In a public statement, the company suggested such an intrusion into personal property would set a dangerous precedent that the government could exploit in much less publicly visible cases.

Apple also has a well-earned reputation for strong financial performance. Over the past decade, the company’s share price has increased by over 1000%. In 2016, the company reported a net income of $46 billion, 13 times the company’s earnings a decade prior.

Johnson and Johnson logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Johnson & Johnson
> 2017 reputation score: 82.57
> 2016 reputation score: 80.23
> Industry: Consumer products
> CEO: Alex Gorsky

Few companies have the kind of exposure to the average American consumer that Johnson & Johnson has. The company is behind such common household brands as Tylenol, Band-Aid, Listerine, Neutrogena, and Aveeno. The company also manufactures a range of medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs. Trusted by American consumers, the company is also held in high esteem by its employees. On employee review site Glassdoor, the company received an extremely high 4.1 out of five rating, and 96% of employees said they approve of company CEO Alex Gorsky, who was appointed in April 2012.

The company’s financial performance helped drive up its strong overall reputation in the Harris Poll survey. The company’s revenue climbed from $70.1 billion in 2015 to $71.9 billion in 2016, and profits climbed proportionally. Now trading at near record highs, the company’s share price has climbed by 93% over the past decade, outperforming both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices.

3. Publix Super Markets
> 2017 reputation score: 82.78
> 2016 reputation score: 80.94
> Industry: Grocery stores and supermarkets
> CEO: Todd Jones

Consistently ranked among the top supermarket chains in the country by a range of news outlets, Publix Super Markets is also one of the most highly regarded companies in the country. The first Publix location opened in Winter Haven, Florida in 1930. Since then, the company has grown substantially and now has over 1,100 locations in six states.

In its mission statement, Publix expresses its commitment to customers, employees, and the communities it serves — commitments it appears to honor. On employee review site Glassdoor, Publix workers regularly tout the company’s benefits and 3 out of 4 employees would recommend a job at Publix to a friend. Publix’s image also certainly benefits from its charitable giving. Over the years, the company has been recognized for its work with Feeding America, United Way, and recently ranked highest nationwide for its giving to March of Dimes.

Source: Maryland Pride / Wikimedia Commons

2. Wegmans
> 2017 reputation score: 85.41
> 2016 reputation score: N/A
> Industry: Grocery stores
> CEO: Danny Wegman

Wegmans was founded in 1916 in Rochester, New York and has since grown into one of the largest family-owned businesses in the world. Wegmans has cultivated a loyal customer base that is perhaps unmatched by any grocery store of its size. New store openings have been known to draw lines of thousands of customers. Fans regularly take to Twitter and other internet outlets to express excitement over new locations. While the store’s expansion rate of four new stores a year is relatively slow, it is no indication of poor sales. According to one store spokesman, the slow expansion is due to the months of recruitment and training of new employees. Wegmans’ investment in its employees has in turn saved the company money through low employee turnover. One in five Wegmans employees stays with the company for 10 years or more, nearly the longest such tenure in the grocery industry.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Amazon.com
> 2017 reputation score: 86.27
> 2016 reputation score: 83.96
> Industry: Internet retail
> CEO: Jeff Bezos

Of the six dimensions of corporate reputation, Amazon outshines all other companies in financial performance, vision and leadership, products and services, and emotional appeal. One reason behind Amazon’s widespread emotional appeal may be the company’s customer service. For as long as ACSI has ranked Amazon, the company has had one of the highest customer satisfaction scores of any U.S. business. The company’s innovations in online retail have also likely contributed to its great reputation. Between 1-click ordering, Amazon Prime, and various experimental redesigns of the traditional brick-and-mortar store concept, the company has been behind some of the boldest innovations in retail in recent years. Amazon Studios also made history recently by winning three Academy Awards at this year’s Oscars — a first for online streaming studios.

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