The 10 US Companies With the Best Reputations – and the 10 Worst
Business + Economy

The 10 US Companies With the Best Reputations – and the 10 Worst

© Abhishek Chinnappa / Reuters

Amazon is so pleased with its performance in a new ranking of corporate reputations that it is giving customers a discount on Wednesday to celebrate its top-place finish.

The online retail giant is offering an $8.62 discount on purchases of $50 or more to commemorate the 86.27 score it received in the annual Harris Poll survey on corporate reputation. The score is not only the best among 100 top companies, it is also the highest score the survey has ever recorded.

Amazon has ranked in the top 10 for nine straight years. The survey of the 100 most visible U.S companies has been occurring annually for the past 18 years.

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This year, only 17 companies earned “excellent” reputation scores of 80 and over, while 34 companies received “very good” scores between 74 and 77. The companies with the most improved reputation scores are Volkswagen, which dealt with an emissions scandal early last year, and Toyota, which suffered several recalls in past years. Both UPS and 3M returned to the top ten after multi-year absences.

Top Ten 

Companies Score
1.  86.27, Excellent 
2. Wegmans 85.41, Excellent
3. Publix Super Markets 82.78, Excellent
4. Johnson & Johnson 82.57, Excellent
5. Apple 82.07, Excellent
6. UPS 82.05, Excellent
7. The Walt Disney Company 82.04, Excellent
8. Google 82.00, Excellent
9. Tesla Motors 81.70, Excellent
10. 3M Company 81.50, Excellent 

Several of the companies that populate the bottom 10 on the list were plagued by scandal. Wells Fargo posted the largest decline ever, dropping 20.6 points, to “critical” level after it became known that company employees created two million unauthorized bank and credit card accounts to boost sales figures. The scandal resulted in the resignation of the company CEO and several high-level managers. Account openings have suffered enormously since the scandal broke in September, plummeting 44 percent year over year in October, 41 percent in November and 31 percent in December.

Takata was the only other company with a “critical” rating. It was the first time the airbag supplier appeared on the list, with its visibility increasing among consumers after its airbags had to be recalled from several makes of cars.

Bottom Ten

Companies Score
91. Volkswagen Group 63.46, Poor
92. AIG 63.22, Poor
93. Charter Communications 62.80, Poor
94. Sears Holdings Corporation 62.74, Poor
95. Bank of America 59.69, Poor
96. Halliburton 58.30, Poor
97. Monsanto 56.61, Poor
98. Goldman Sachs 56.32, Poor
99. Wells Fargo & Company 49.11, Critical
100. Takata 48.70, Critical

Other companies that declined significantly — but remained out of the bottom 10 — included Procter & Gamble Co. (-5.3), Samsung (-5.3), Chipotle (-4.6) and Bank of America (-4.6). Samsung’s reputation took a hit after it had to recall its Galaxy Note 7 due to fires from faulty batteries. Chipotle is still recovering from E. coli outbreaks at its restaurants and Bank of America got dinged after paying $415 million for misusing brokerage customers’ cash.

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Harris also noted that some companies fared better with Republicans or Democrats, depending on how they appeared to stand on certain issues. For instance, Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby -- both with more conservative views — earn higher reputation scores among Republicans than among Democrats. Target, which opposed North Carolina’s bathroom bill, scored higher among Democrats than Republicans.

The Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ) measures corporate reputation strength based on how 23,000 Americans perceive six factors: social responsibility, emotional appeal, products and services, vision and leadership, financial performance and workplace environment.