Survey says companies, not products, drive brand perception

Here’s some food for thought: General Mills has replaced Amazon as the corporation with the best reputation among consumers, according to a survey by US RepTrak Pulse. Some of the others in the top 10 included Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Coca-Cola, UPS and Procter & Gamble. Amazon fell to fourth place.

The study was conducted in the first quarter of 2012 by Reputation Institute, a private research and consulting firm that surveyed 10,198 consumers to find America’s most- and least-reputable companies.

Hard goods dominate the list in the Reputation Institute’s global survey. The top 10 global brand were: BMW, Sony, Walt Disney Company, Daimler, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Canon and LEGO. Last year’s leader, Google, fell from first to sixth place.

According to the institute, the study shows that in order to win support and recommendations, “a company needs to tell its story in a way that connects with stakeholders on a global level. This is a challenge that even the best companies struggle with.”

“In today’s reputation economy, what you stand for matters more than what you produce and sell,” says Reputation Institute’s Executive Partner Kasper Ulf Nielsen. “People’s willingness to buy, recommend, work for and invest in a company is driven 60 percent by their perceptions of the company and only 40 percent by their perceptions of their products.”

— Jeff Widmer