The Most Respected Companies in the United States - Reputation Institute Releases Results of its Global Pulse U.S. 2008 Study

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Google claimed the top spot in Reputation Institute's annual Global Pulse U.S. 2008 Study. The study measures the overall respect, trust, esteem, and admiration consumers hold towards the largest 600 companies in the world, including the largest 150 U.S. companies. Governance and citizenship combined account for more than 30% of a company's reputation.

Google edged out the largest consumer product companies in the U.S., indicating that consumers have a high level of trust, respect, and good feelings for the company

Google, the information/media company, has earned the highest reputation ranking in Reputation Institute's Global Pulse US 2008, its third annual survey measuring consumer perception of the countries' largest corporations. "Google edged out the largest consumer product companies in the U.S., indicating that consumers have a high level of trust, respect, and good feelings for the company," said Kasper Nielsen, Managing Partner of Reputation Institute (RI) a global, private advisory firm specializing in corporate reputation management.

The Global Pulse 2008 study measures the overall respect, trust, esteem, admiration, and good feelings consumers hold towards the largest 600 companies in the world, including the largest 150 U.S. companies.

Other highlights from Global Pulse US 2008 include:

  • Six companies posted excellent reputations in the U.S. After Google, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods ranked 2nd and 3rd, followed by General Mills, Walt Disney and United States Parcel Service.
  • Consumer product companies have the best reputations, followed by Industrial Products companies led by 3M, Xerox, Deere & Co, and Caterpillar.
  • Retailers' got mixed reviews. Publix Super Market and Costco Wholesale earned high rankings while Safeway, Target, Rite Aid, and Wal-Mart were the weakest in their sector.
  • The high-tech sector (computer and electronics companies) has a strong reputation led by Texas Instruments and followed closely by Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Dell.
  • Ten companies improved their reputation scores from last year, while 13 lost significant reputation equity from 2007 to 2008.

Reputation Drivers:
Reputation Institute's research model indicates that reputation is built on 7 pillars from which a company can create a strategic platform for communicating with its stakeholders on the most relevant key performance indicators. These dimensions are: Products/Services, Innovation, Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Leadership, and Performance.

The Global Pulse 2008 indicates that consumers are most influenced by a company's delivery of high quality products and services, accounting for 18.2% of a company's reputation. But, Governance and Citizenship combined account for more than 30% of a company's reputation. "This makes it critical for companies to communicate how they support good causes, protect the environment, behave ethically and act openly and transparently about the way they do business," says Anthony Johndrow, Managing Director, RI.

Google, the most highly respected company in the U.S., landed in the top spot for Workplace, Citizenship, Governance, Innovation, and Performance. Johnson & Johnson took the top spot in Products/Services and Leadership.

Why Reputation Matters:
The Global Pulse 2008 offers insight on how reputation impacts and influence's a company's stakeholders - and its bottom line. "When people trust, admire and have a good feeling about a company, they are willing to support and recommend the company to others," explains Johndrow of the significant value of reputation. "We see a strong pattern between reputation and support, demonstrating that building a favorable reputation platform should be a part of a company's overall strategy," he says.

2008 Best Corporate Reputations in the US-Top 25 Companies
Rank    US Companies    Global Pulse Score
1    Google    85.23
2    Johnson & Johnson    83.48
3    Kraft Foods Inc.    82.79
4    General Mills    81.34
5    Walt Disney    81.22
6    United Parcel Service    81.05
7    3M    79.79
8    Xerox    78.44
9    Colgate-Palmolive    78.04
10    Texas Instruments    77.22
11    Eastman Kodak    77.13
12    General Electric    76.82
13    Sara Lee    76.48
14    FedEx    76.28
15    Deere & Co    76.12
16    Goodyear    76.00
17    Apple    75.42
18    Hewlett-Packard    75.10
19    Intel    74.94
20    Publix Super Markets Inc.    74.91
21    Caterpillar    74.78
22    Whirlpool    74.41
23    Boeing    74.37
24    Costco Wholesale    74.33
25    Dell    74.26

Survey Methodology
The Global Pulse 2008 was conducted online in the U.S. between February and March of 2008. A Pulse score is a measure of corporate reputation calculated by averaging perceptions of 4 indicators of trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling obtained from a representative sample of at least 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company. Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100, Pulse scores that differ by more than +/-0.5 are significantly different at the 95% confidence level. Scores can be categorized using the below key:

Excellent/Top Tier    above 80
Strong/Robust    70 - 79
Average/Moderate    60 - 69
Weak/Vulnerable    40 - 59
Poor/Lowest Tier    below 40

  • Note: 50 additional U.S. companies were added to the Global Pulse in 2008.

About Reputation Institute:
Reputation Institute, a private advisory and research firm, is a pioneer and global leader in corporate reputation management. With a presence in more than 20 countries, Reputation Institute provides consulting services and membership to industry leaders and some of the most recognized companies worldwide. Founded by Dr. Charles Fombrun and Dr. Cees van Riel, Reputation Institute shares best practices and current research through seminars, conferences, publications such as Corporate Reputation Review, and the Global Pulse, an annual study of corporate reputation covering more than 25 countries and 1,000 companies. Reputation Institute's consulting teams help companies value and act on their reputation using management systems developed from this ongoing work. Visit http://www.ReputationInstitute.com to learn more.

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