In a corporate environment rife with scams, scurrilous behavior and sins of commission and omission, it’s good to know that Seattle’s own Amazon.com is considered the most reputable company in the U.S. — at least by one survey's count.
If you’re across Lake Washington at the Microsoft campus, or in the boardrooms of Boeing, Nordstrom, or Starbucks, the news is not so good.
That's if you're measuring by a report this week in Forbes. The business magazine cited a study by Reputation Institute, a private consulting firm, that asked nearly 33,000 people to gauge their personal reactions to 150 of the country's best-known companies. A statistical score was based on reactions to the firms in terms of trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling.
On a 100-point scale, Amazon’s “pulse score” was 82.70: 5.76 points higher than a similar study conducted last year and 1.3 points higher than Kraft Foods, the No. 2 challenger. “Amazon earned its No. 1 rank by providing value to users, staying ahead of the curve in technology and innovation and responding quickly and ethically to scandals,” Forbes reported.
The study named Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Mortgage Corporation, as the least reputable of all firms included in the study.
Anthony Johndrow, Reputation Institute's managing partner, noted in the Forbes report that Amazon stands for more than just being a retailer. "Its enterprise-wide story engages consumers in more than just delivering innovative products and services, a trustworthy and ethical customer experience or strong financial performance.”
A follow-up report in PC World noted the online retailer is innovative, responds quickly and responsibly to potential scandals, and stays ahead of the technological curve — factors that may play well as Amazon is believed to be challenging Apple, Google, and Microsoft for an even larger role in Internet prestige.
Another article on the study appearing in PR Week said that the institute conducted a second study to determine the main factors that separated the companies under study. Companies with the strongest reputations were most likely (2.5 times) to use their CEO to tell their story.
On the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft, once in the Top 10 of the survey, fell out of the top 20 companies to 47th place: down 6.55 points from last year. It may be some small commfort to the Redmond contingent that archrival Apple was also down, less than a point above Microsoft on the institute’s list at 46. Regarding other Seattle-related companies, Boeing was ranked 63, Nordstrom was 69, Starbucks was 95 — all down by various degrees from last year.
Rounding out the top 10 companies in the survey were Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Kelloggs, UPS, FedEx, Sara Lee, Google, and the Walt Disney Company.
Rounding out the bottom 10 in addition to Freddie Mac were News Corporation, Bank of America, Comcast, Capital One Financial, Citigroup, Exxon Mobile, Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Corporation), and AIG.