Even at times when the overall public perception of corporations is low, some companies manage to stand out, managing to remain beloved. According to the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study, which polls over 14,000 members of the general public in order to rank the reputations of the 60 most visible companies in the country, Amazon.com (News - Alert) managed to beat out Apple to earn the highest reputation.
Corporate America's overall reputation was found to have shown some improvement by 16 percent of respondents. While a low figure, it is still much higher than the nine percent who said the same last year. 49 percent said the reputation of corporate America declined, down 11 percent from 2012.
Meanwhile, only six companies were ranked with RQ scores above 80, signifying a great reputation, which is 25 percent fewer companies than in 2012, and almost two-thirds fewer than in 2011.
"The public seem to have become pragmatically realistic with their expectations of corporate America," said Robert Fronk, executive vice president of Reputation Management at Harris Interactive (News - Alert), in a statement, "and we characterize this year's overall findings as the great muddling of corporate America."
Amazon's ranking as number one in reputation this year marks the company's first time earning this achievement, but is the fifth consecutive year it managed a great reputation score. Apple, The Walt Disney Company, Google (News - Alert) and Johnson & Johnson complete the top five. This is the eighth consecutive year Google, which earned the top position in 2011, has appeared in the top five.
RQ measures companies by six dimensions, which it says make up reputation and influence consumer behavior. Whole Foods ranked first in Social Responsibility, while Amazon topped both Emotional Appeal and Products & Services. Apple (News - Alert) topped both the Financial Performance and Vision & Leadership categories, leaving Google to claim Workplace Environment.
While it didn't rank number one in financial performance, Amazon still posted impressive financial figures in 2012. In fact, in the fourth quarter, the company experienced a net sales increase of 22 percent, reaching $21.27 billion, compared to $17.43 billion year over year.
Edited by Brooke Neuman