Each year, Harris Interactive conducts its “Annual RQ“—Reputation Quotient—survey, aimed at measuring the corporate reputation of the United States’ most visible companies. The study evaluates reps by conducting online surveys ask 600 American adults about the companies, quizzing them on twenty attributes grouped into six categories—vision and leadsership, emotional appeal, products and services, workplace environment, and financial performance. Some 22,480 partcipants rated companies, each randomly asked to complete a detailed rating of one or two companies with which they were familiar. Each company was rated by at least 279 people, with the average number of respondents per company running at 596.
And guess what? For 2006, Redmond software giant Microsoft came out on top.
“Sixty-nine percent of respondents rated the reputation of corporate America as either ‘good’ or ‘terrible’,” said Robert Fronk, Senior Vice President for the Brand and Strategy Consulting Group at Harris Interactive. “This context makes the significant RQ score increases among companies like Merck, Royal Dutch Shell, AT&T, Apple, Microsoft, 3M and others that much more impressive. Corporations today need to measure, understand, and holistically manage their corporate reputation and leverage it as an asset. Those who do, find that ratings and rankings take care of themselves.”
“In the case of Microsoft,” Fronk continued, “we find a company that, while always scoring well in our annual study, there were certainly perceptual challenges regarding elements of its reputation,” Fronk continued. “By focusing on the root causes of these perceptions and not just imagery or messaging, they were able to achieve higher levels of credibility with the general public. These types of perception shifts are not accidental and the value is nearly immeasurable.”
Last year, Microsoft ranked seventh in Harris Interactives’s survey.
This year, Harris also separately tracked the opinions of so-called influencers and investors—influencers folks who ranked themselves as very famliar with companies they were rating and who either voted in the last U.S. Presidential election or participated in advocacy or various public policy activities, while investors were folks who had long-term financial holdings other than 401ks. Considered on their own, investors would have put General Mills in the top slot; influencers would have kept Microsoft on top but shuffled other enteries in the top ten.
Other interesting placements in the 2006 survey: Google landed at #4, Sony at #8, Amazon.com at #11, Intel at #16, Apple at #22, Dell at #23, Best Buy at #32, Hewlett-Packard at #38, Sprint at #54, and Comcast at #58.
Here are the 2006 Annual RQ rankings of 60 top United States companies:
|Ranking||Company||2006 RQ||2005 RQ||% Change|
|2||Johnson & Johnson||80.44||80.56||-0.15|
|5||The Coca-Cola Company||79.52||79.69||-0.21|
|7||United Parcel Service (UPS)||79.07||79.37||-0.38|
|9||Toyota Motor Corporation||78.14||77.27||1.13|
|10||The Procter & Gamble Company||77.99||75.91||2.74|
|12||Whole Foods Market||77.58||–||–|
|13||The Walt Disney Company||77.49||75.88||2.12|
|14||Honda Motor Co.||77.26||75.6||2.20|
|19||General Electric Company||75.25||73.39||2.53|
|21||Berkshire Hathaway Inc.||74.68||–||–|
|27||The Boeing Company||73.52||73.1||0.57|
|32||Best Buy Co.||71.93||69.74||3.14|
|34||American Express Company||71.48||–||–|
|35||J.C. Penney Company||71.45||68.81||3.84|
|36||Wells Fargo & Company||69.81||–||–|
|41||Sears Holdings Corporation||67.64||65.26||3.65|
|42||State Farm Insurance||67.55||–||–|
|43||Bank of America Corporation||67.55||66||2.35|
|48||Time Warner, Inc.||65.57||63.85||2.69|
|55||Ford Motor Company||62.74||66.14||-5.14|
|57||General Motors Corporation||62.5||66.07||-5.40|