Market research firm Harris Interactive recently released their annual corporate Reputation Quotient survey, which polls the US public’s opinion on the reputation of 60 of the country’s “most visible” companies. The survey is quite interesting in providing a barometer of what attributes a company must have to garner the public’s trust and respect. What is most compelling, though, is how the survey mirrors the zeitgeist, as evidenced this year by the fact that the bottom of the list is made up almost entirely of financial firms and others that received government bailouts or TARP funds.
A company’s RQ score is made up of opinions on 20 corporate attributes bucketed into six primary categories: Social Responsibility, Emotional Appeal, Products and Services, Workplace Environment, Financial Performance and Vision and Leadership. Some of the highlights include Berkshire Hathaway topping the list, which most likely has a lot to do with its solid financial performance and the leadership of Warren Buffett, whom the public likes and trusts. Ford also saw the biggest jump in its rating from last year, up 14 points. Not needing a bailout like GM or Chrysler, or suffering from quality control nightmares like Toyota, had to help enormously.
On the low end, Bank of America dropped the most from the past year. And Freddie Mac probably wishes it wasn’t included at all. This was its first year on the list but it came in dead last and had the lowest score of any company since Enron in the mid-2000s.
4. 3M Company
5. S.C. Johnson
10. General Mills
8. Fannie Mae
10. Freddie Mac