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Room for improvement on reputation

Despite considerable efforts by Walmart in recent years to improve its reputation, a recent Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient poll shows the company has considerable room for improvement.

The study, now in its 13th year, surveyed 17,500 consumers about their perceptions of the 60 most visible companies in America. Not surprisingly, a fair number of those were major national retailers who have become household names. Walmart ranked 41st overall on the list of 60 companies and 10 other retailers were ranked ahead of Walmart.

Those surveyed were asked to evaluate companies on 20 attributes in six areas including social responsibility, emotional appeal, products and services, vision and leadership, financial performance and workplace environment.

Walmart received a score of 69.25, while other retailers who ranked ahead of the company, and their scores, included:

  • No. 8, Whole Foods, 80.14

  • No. 14, Home Depot, 78.11

  • No. 16, Kohl’s, 77.95

  • No. 19, Costco, 76.72

  • No. 22, Lowe’s, 75.39

  • No. 27, Target, 74.26

  • No. 30, Macy’s, 73.63

  • No. 34, Best Buy, 72.68.

  • No. 37, Walgreen, 72.1

  • No. 39, JCPenney, 71.23

The only retailer among the top 60 companies ranked lower than Walmart was Sears with a score of 64.26. To put those figures in context, only a score above 80 is regarded as excellent, while those in the 79 to 75 range are considered very good. A score of 74 to 70 was regarded as good, while Walmart’s 69.25 put it at the upper end of the fair range.

According to the Harris Poll, this year's most reputable brand, Apple, benefits greatly from its hybrid status as a technology/consumer product/retail company, and earned the highest RQ score to secure the top spot in the ranking.  It displaced 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, and 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.”

To check out the study, click here.

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