The 10 Most Reputable Companies In The U.S.

The Research Institute has compiled a list of the most reputable companies in the U.S., “calculated by averaging perceptions of trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling obtained from a representative sample of 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company.” (Then they do some statistical stuff to it.) Coming in at #1 is Google, which we think is remarkable considering how much data the company has managed to collect over the past several years, and continues to collect with new record-keeping initiatives like Google Health.

Below is the top 10 list, but check out the full list of 75 companies for some interesting surprises, like Hewlett Packard coming in at #18 (right behind Apple!) despite the horror stories we’ve seen from Consumerist readers.

Global Pulse Score
Company 2008 Rank 2008 2007 Change
Google 1 85.23 New N/A
Johnson & Johnson 2 83.48 78.80 4.68
Kraft Foods Inc. 3 82.79 81.07 1.72
General Mills 4 81.34 New 0.00
Walt Disney 5 81.22 78.37 2.85
United Parcel Service 6 81.05 80.06 1.00
3M 7 79.79 75.06 4.73
Xerox 8 78.44 New N/A
Colgate-Palmolive 9 78.04 New N/A
Texas Instruments 10 77.22 New N/A
 
 

“The 75 Most Reputable Companies in the U.S.” [Forbes] (Thanks to Rick!)

RELATED
“RI Hall of Fame” [Research Institute]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    What? No Apple?

  2. jst07 says:

    I’m stoked for google. I fully support them in the battle of good vs evil when they take on walmart for dominator of the universe.

  3. TorrentFreak says:

    @ ConsumptionJunkie

    God I hate Apple. In some ways they are worse than MicroShaft.

  4. How did Best Buy, Comcast, and Sears not make the list? Maybe they were 11, 12 and 13.

  5. spinachdip says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: I read this at the Consumerist: “like Hewlett Packard coming in at #18 (right behind Apple!”

    Apparently, people don’t like companies that are “smug” and their users are “fanboys”, which are about the stupidest reasons to hate a company.

  6. DavidCopperballs says:

    Shocked American Express is no. 75. Shocked, I say!

  7. pediddle says:

    Apple is #17.

    Best Buy is #37.

    Hmm…

  8. Preyfar says:

    Newegg isn’t on that list? I call shenanigans.

    SHENANIGANS!

  9. Ssscorpion says:

    “Perceptions of trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling” make a company reputable?

    Perceptions?

    Call me old-fashioned but shouldn’t the actual quality of goods and services have something to do with a company being “reputable”?

  10. sauceistheboss says:

    I don’t see what is so trustworthy or admirable about Google when it chooses profit over internet freedom in China.

  11. UPS?

    Unintentional Parcel Screw-ups?

    I don’t know many people who DON’T have a UPS disaster story.

    Wow. Pretty high bar they have set there.

  12. spinachdip says:

    @Ssscorpion: I think the problem is that this is a list of companies, not brands, which is, and has always been measured by “perceptions of trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling”.

    And yeah, it’d be nice to judge companies by the quality of their service or their product, but it’s not like there’s a single metric that can cover all sectors. Plus, for most consumers, unless they’ve test driven every car make and tried every computer, all they can go off on is their perception of quality. So about the best metric we have is brand perception.

  13. jodles says:

    we don’t hear many complaints about most of these companies in the top ten so that does say something about them as well

  14. TPK says:

    Texas Instruments? Really? All they make is calculators! At least to consumers… Maybe I’m missing something?

  15. RodAox says:

    I am not liking this list, if best buy is on the list and new egg isn’t. I will take new egg’s worst over best buys best any day.

    I feel all warm and fuzzy typing new egg….ooohh warm.

  16. AMetamorphosis says:

    No one voted for Monsantos ???

  17. teapot37 says:

    @Ssscorpion: But this isn’t a list of the “best” companies, but of the “most reputable” companies. Reputable => good reputation => people perceive the company to be good. Good performance should correlate to good reputation, but it doesn’t always.

  18. Gotta figure 99% consumer happieness rating for these companies to just make the list.

    Take UPS for example. Ignore all the horror stories and look at the facts. Well over 99% of all packages are delivered ON TIME and INTACT. That is all the typical UPS customer cares about… on time and intact. Oh, price is an issue, but since UPS and FedEx conspire on their prices (like you don’t think they come up with essentially identical prices all by themselves) the average consumer accepts the UPS price as the norm. Hence 99+% of all consumers are happy with UPS.

    Look at Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol. How many Tylenol deaths occured last year due to product tampering? How many Tylenol deaths occured last year due to intentional overmedication (suicide)? How many Tylenol deaths occured last year due to unintentional overmedication? How many Tylenol deaths occured last year due to allergic reactions and other medical causes? All in all I bet the numbers are relatively low, which means well over 99+% of Johnson & Johnson consumers are happy with the products.

    HP is another fine example. They control a big ole nasty % of the PC, Server etc market. Big %. How many companies bought dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of servers or PCs from HP last year? And those customers keep coming back for more. Again, I bet 99+% of HP customers are happy HP customers.

    Yet there are significant worse company of the year candidates scattered amoung that list….. Apple, HP, Office Depot, Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, State Farm, Circuit City.

    Says something about people that hate on these companies…. maybe the haters are in the minority.

  19. nfs says:

    Yay for google.

    Apple is getting to be like Microsoft now.

  20. spinachdip says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Maybe the general population has low standards for service and quality?

    @nfs: Really? Can you expound?

    At the risk of being labeled a fanboy, as far as I can tell, Apple is still putting out an OS that’s generally well received, a web browser that is lean and standards-compliant, and its products are generally free of the bloat and feature creep that plagues Microsoft’s products (in fact, Apple recently announced that there will be “no new features” in the next OS release). Plus, its dominance in digital music downloads and possible dominance in the smart phone market is/will not be anywhere as monopolistic or anti-competitive as Microsoft’s share of the OS market. I don’t see anything Microsoft-like in Apple.

  21. atarisuicide says:

    So happy to work for one of the top 5 companies (not Google). It really is kind of liberating to work for a company who is not “evil”, even if we were practically the inventor of the grocery shrink ray.

  22. RetailGuy83 says:

    So, this is a list of the top 75 US PR departments?

  23. RetailGuy83 says:

    @spinachdip: At the risk of sounding like an MS fanboi, (I own 2 macs and one windows box) Apple is producing the least secure and least compatible OS on the market. Safari is a joke, it is easily the LEAST secure browser you could think of using and the firewall standards in mac os are awful. Also, a bunch of the MS bloat comes from having to write apps and routines in such a way that third parties can access them. As far as security goes, windows vista 64 was going to have a completly closed kernal, however Symantec and McAfee both sued so they could replace the Windows Security center with their own crap. So MS takes a beating they dont necissarily deserve. Luckily for Apple, their market share and the notariety of hacking their boxes is so low, that it’s not an issue to them.

  24. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I can assure you that not one employee of Kraft Foods thinks it’s a reputable company.
    Everyone here is sure that Kraft will be gone in 5 years, sold off in pieces.

  25. @RetailGuy83: Does anybody care?

  26. @spinachdip:

    The general population is happy reasonable products and performance. Since Tylenol is not killing many people these days, Johnson & Johnson is highly ranked.

    HP is the same way. In the typical office setting or for average home user the HP product performs as expected, hence HP is highly ranked.

    We can moan and groan about these and every other company, but we are the exceptions.

  27. @spinachdip: As much as I dislike Corporate-Shill for relentlessly living up to his name, I gotta side with him on this one. The Consumerist is a blog that focuses on negative stories (no seriously, check the FAQ). The vast majority may have “low standards”, but I prefer “the vast majority is content or doesn’t care”.

    Regarding, Apple Fanboyism, see above.

  28. @Corporate-Shill: We can moan and groan about these and every other company, but we are the exceptions.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “we” here. I never see you do anything except (contrarian?) cheerleading.

  29. badgeman46 says:

    What a load of Crap!!!! Is the perhaps the best of the worst?! I mean, sitting right there at number 11 is Kodak, a company that got KICKED OFF THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU for shoddy customer service.

  30. badgeman46 says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:

    Kraft=Altria=Phillip Morris= Cigarettes=Death.

  31. spinachdip says:

    @RetailGuy83: I won’t argue with you about the quality of Apple’s products (I like them, but they’re far from perfect). I just took issue with the “Apple’s just like Microsoft” statement. Say what you will about Apple, they’re nothing like MS, and consciously so.

    As for the low market share/low notoriety thing, I never really bought that. Apple’s market share isn’t that insignificant any more – something like half of all computer sold in stores were Apple, which excludes enterprise sales, but nothing to scoff at either. And considering how much hate the company engenders from a segment of the tech community, don’t you think they’re being targeted? Because they’re smug and all?

  32. cabinaero says:

    Weee…. good news for me, my company’s largest client is in the top 10.

  33. nudger says:

    gotta be careful here – some of the companies that make lists are also selling consulting services (to the selfsame companies).

  34. spinachdip says:

    @Michael Belisle: Yeah, I get that the site is going to focus on the negatives and it’d be useless to draw any conclusions based on the stories that are posted here. But you also have to realize that in the pre-internet age, large corporations were able to make bad stories disappear, and they still have the ability to counter any grassroots negativity with high-priced advertising and PR, and that’s part of the reason why Consumerist is here. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we might be loud and pushy outliers, but that doesn’t make us bad people. Or something.

    FWIW, you don’t see any mobile phone or cable providers in the top 100. And I can’t imagine too many of the respondents being high-net-worth enough to use Berkshire Hathaway’s services.

  35. Note: It’s the Reputation Institute, not the Research Institute. Totally changes things when you read about the RI.

    Reputation Institute (RI) is the leading international organization devoted to advancing knowledge about corporate reputations and to providing professional assistance to companies interested in measuring and managing their reputations proactively. Founded in 1997, Reputation Institute has been and remains a pioneer and global leader in the development of measurement tools and in offering advice and counsel to leading companies around the world. [www.reputationinstitute.com]

    Also, “Reputation Institute recognizes individuals who have greatly contributed to the field of reputation through both scholarship and practice by awarding them a place in our Hall of Fame at our annual conference.” WTF does that mean?

    Sounds like a load of bullshit, like Complaint Remover.

    (And would it kill them to say “The Reputation Institute”? )

  36. rdldr1 says:

    @IamNotToddDavis: I’m one of those few who hasnt had a problem with UPS – I buy stuff online and send stuff through UPS and I am satisfied with their service.

  37. pentium4borg says:

    NewEgg isn’t #1, so clearly this list is inaccurate.

    I have no idea why Worst Buy is on this list and NewEgg isn’t.

  38. @spinachdip: Yeah, what you said, now that I read about the organization behind the list.

  39. @RetailGuy83: And to answer your question “best PR Departments” question, apparently.

    “Good customer service? Nah, sounds expensive. We only need to make people think we provide good customer service.”

  40. Ghede says:

    Kraft foods? Isn’t this the same company that makes the abomination known as Cheez Whiz? Aren’t half of their products devoid of nutritional content, and the other half not technically food?

    Definitely a PR fight, not an actual quality-of-service measurement.

  41. @Michael Belisle:

    Nah, I do my share of bashing…. those that I thing actually deserve bashing. We all have different standards. Some people think a missing ice cube in their fountain drink is a scam worthy of the corporation being tarred and feathered and possibly bured at the stake. I think the missing ice cube is employee oversight and can be remedied without a forum posting or calling law enforcement.

  42. ShadowFalls says:

    @Preyfar:

    I swear to god, I am going to pistol whip the next person who says “Shenanigans”

    Seriously though, this isn’t a meaningful study, the ones most reputable, many don’t really know about. Most of these companies listed have commercials after commercials. Must have done a study on the American Idol crowd…

  43. thinwhiteduke says:

    @badgeman46: Boohoo. Stop wasting kilobytes.

  44. amed01 says:

    Yay! Google is number one because there are no hidden fees, and they don’t charge you for your first checked bag.

  45. @Corporate-Shill: Missing ice cube? I would scream redrum.

  46. rellog says:

    This is a list of recognizable names… The reason NewEgg isn’t on it, is because it isn’t as recognizable to much of the population.
    Costco is #24…. it should be in the top 5, if not the top 3.
    Good Year is above them, even though they killed people with their crappy Chinese tires that weren’t recalled fast enough…
    And Boeing?!? They have been busted time and again for maleficence of very serious natures…

    This list is a load of garbage.

  47. @Corporate-Shill: Whether or not it’s true that “over 99% of UPS packages get delivered ON TIME INTACT” (which I simply don’t believe) the fact remains they have screwed up enough of not only my packages, but my friends and families packages to make me be simply dumbfounded that they are found to be this effective.

    And my3cents.com agrees with me.

    [www.my3cents.com]

    They rank UPS below USPS.

    This list is garbage.

  48. sean77 says:

    @IamNotToddDavis: omg UPS is ranked below USPS! how horrible they must be.

    Never mind that USPS does a ridiculously good job. They deliver millions of letters and packages a day relying on nothing more than your chickenscratch to make sure things get to where they need to go… often with just a day turnaround.

    UPS delivers my wife’s insulin once a month (for the past 8 years).. and has never once been late or damaged the package. The dry-ice is never completely melted.. the vials are never cracked.

  49. sean77 says:

    edit: and my3cents is a crap site. I would never trust a site that at first glance, looks identical to a parked host.

  50. freejazz38 says:

    Oh yea, Google is #1. I guess people trust the Whores of the Internet. Have you installed ANYTHING lately, that doesn’t try to push Google’s useless crap on you? Please. Their search engine is full of sponsored links, their software is useless crap, and they’re scumbags. Oh YEA, I TRUST them. Just goes to show you how USELESS these stupid rankings and all the “scientific” mumbo jumbo that goes into them are. People use Google because they’re too STUPID to use anything else. They’ve heard of Google from the news, it has a catchy name, and they can’t (gasp) think for themselves

  51. Angryrider says:

    WTF? I only trust Google, and maybe General Mills. If in the world, I probably wouldn’t see a single US company.

  52. rwakelan says:

    @spinachdip: You’re a bit off on your statistics there… half of computers sold on American campuses are Macs, if you believe Mac commercials. The general population is not nearly as image conscience. which is why wal-mart still sells computers. their retail percentage is 14%.

    Overall Market share: 6.6%
    [www.gartner.com]

    Retail Market Share: 14%
    [blogs.zdnet.com]

  53. hellinmyeyes says:

    Hmm, glad to see Marriott as the top resort/hotel brand in the list. (I imagine there’s a case for arguing Disney.) I’m a total Marriott whore; it’s the only place I stay when I travel. I’m glad to see Publix and Deere up there, too.

    You have to remember there are a lot of companies Consumerist readers complain about for various reasons (receipt-checking, return policies, etc), but their overall reputations and brand familiarity are good overall.

  54. The Jerk says:

    Incredible that Dell ranked so high.

  55. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Publix should be higher up on the list. And who is Chubb (74)? I am afraid to search for it to find out?

    @TPK: I guess they have a reputation for making good calculators. Seriously, who is their competition?

    @spinachdip: I think people are still mad about that price drop thing.

  56. ret3 says:

    Whither the beloved USAA?

  57. crapple says:

    Take a look at the full list. When Best Buy (#36), Lowes (#38) and Home Depot (#40) are ahead of Meijer (#57), people have been eating retard sandwiches.

  58. Darren W. says:

    3M FTW! I love that company, and I’m not afraid to tell people whenever I get the chance.

  59. BlackFlag55 says:

    Who determined what “reputable” means?

    There are lies, damned lies, and then there’s statisics. Mark Twain

    All this tells me is that someone is doing back-channel analysis on how effective their “perception campaign technique” is. What you’ll never see is the resulting sales pitch to companies that did not Make The List. No need to actually do a good job, reliably and honorably. Pay us, and we’ll wage a perception campaign that convinces a large statistical average of potential customers You’re The Good Guy. Cheaper, easier and you don’t have to actually perform.

    Seriously, study the Tavistock Institute. Learn up on PR Newswire. This is all managed-perception.

  60. Trai_Dep says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: Apple’s the highest-rated computer maker.
    I’d wonder about selection bias, since it’s based on online surveys. No other screaming red flags, though. I was alarmed when they said “100 respondents” but these are follow-up online questionnaires.

  61. @sean77: I’m glad that you have had positive experiences with UPS. All I can tell you is that the vast majority of people I know personally both friend and family all have their own UPS disaster story(s). And the stories range from major delays (several weeks or more) to complete destruction and loss of packages, to unimaginably incompetent customer service. I suppose one could make the same claim about any packaging service, but it’s just so common among people I know to have problems with UPS that I can’t but help to question the results of this study.

  62. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh, I wonder about the phrasing of their questions as well. Some of the winners seem, err, unexpected. And what is “reputation”? Dell has a huge reputation…

  63. Tush says:

    Lockheed Martin is in the top 75? War profiteers??

  64. luz says:

    @TPK: Nope, Texas Instruments also designs other high-tech electronics, including military components.

    I get a bit tired of Google being bashed for having sponsored links. There aren’t that many other ways for a search engine to keep solvent.

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I believe the Chubb Group insures antiques and estates. They’re always advertised after Antiques Roadshow, anyway.

  65. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @badgeman46:
    You’re out of date.
    Kraft has nothing to do with Altria anymore.
    Altria spun off Kraft 2 years ago.
    Good riddance to the tobacco, we all hated it.
    But it is fun to watch all the smokers have to go outside to smoke in their little bus shelters that were built because Altria still controlled Kraft when Cook County outlawed smoking in office buildings.

  66. Grive says:

    @Ssscorpion: Reputable, from reputation.

    Reputation is a measure of public perception.

  67. ephdel says:

    @heavylee-again: i really hope that was sarcasm. if you read this site at all you’ll agree they shouldn’t even make the top 50

  68. UnnamedUser says:

    I saw this referenced from reddit the other day. It occurred to me that 5 of the top 10 are on my blacklist of disreputable vendors for one reason or another. Everything from a personal bad experience with product or servce to that company being a monopolist engaged in some form of bad behavior as a monopolist.

    Go figger.

  69. 00447447 says:

    They should have just called them “The Top 10 Most Benign and Boring Companies”

    Personally, I’ve never been blown away by UPS. I’ve heard some horror stories about what happens behind the scenes there though.

    Google is great though, and I know a few people who work there and they love it.

  70. darkryd says:

    This list is a joke. If you look at the full list, you’ll see the evil Best Buy on there as well as a large number of financial firms mired in the subprime mortgage mess.

  71. sisedi says:

    Mmmmm Texas Instruments…