Target was ranked 27th on the 2012 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient study behind five notable retailers and in roughly the same position with the same score as the prior year, the market research firm announced on Monday.
The study, now in its 13th year, surveys 17,500 consumers about their perceptions of the 60 most visible companies in America. Not surprisingly, a fair number of those are major national retailers. Target was ranked 27th with a score of 74, one notch higher than the previous year when it had a score of 75. Other retailers ranked ahead of the company included 8th ranked Whole Foods with score of 80, 14th ranked Home Depot and 16th ranked Kohl’s with scores of 78, 19th ranked Costco with a score of 77 and 22nd ranked Lowe’s with a score of 75.
Target did beat out such retailers as 30th ranked Macy’s with a score of 74, 34th ranked Best Buy with a score of 73, 37th ranked Walgreen with a score of 72, 39th ranked JCPenney with a score of 71 and 41st. ranked Walmart with a score of 69.
According to Harris Poll, this year's most reputable brand, Apple, benefits greatly from its hybrid status as a technology/consumer product/retail company, and earns the highest RQ score to secure the top spot in the ranking. It displaces Google -- last year's most reputable corporation, which now ranks second with an excellent score of 82.82. The Coca-Cola Company, ranked 15th in 2011, has surged into third place, despite any meaningful change in its reputation rating. Amazon.com moves up from eighth to fourth place and perennial reputation elite, Kraft Foods, ranked fifth.
"We are seeing the emergence of a group of companies that garner reputation equity by being positively associated with multiple industries," said Robert Fronk, EVP and global corporate reputation practice lead for Harris Interactive. "Companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon.com combine innovation and leadership across multiple business areas, giving them true competitive advantage."
In terms of year-over-year change, only Toyota, General Motors, BP, and Apple enjoy significant improvement in their RQ scores, while one quarter of companies saw drastic declines. Among those with the most significant declines, five were financial institutions, including the 2010 top scorer, Berkshire Hathaway.
RQ measures six dimensions that comprise reputation and influence consumer behavior. Apple has the greatest score overall. In fact, despite today's challenging environment, Apple recorded the highest score in the RQ’s history.
To check out the study, click here.