Amazon Bests Apple for Best Corporate Reputation in 2013

It's prime time for Amazon. The online juggernaut beat last year's most reputable company, Apple, according to the 2013 Harris Reputation Quotient.

The online study, which took the pulse of more than 14,000 people, was conducted in November and released earlier this week.

According to the study, the Walt Disney Co., Google and Johnson & Johnson complete the top five most reputable companies, while AIG and Goldman Sachs return to the bottom two reputation positions on the list. AIG and Goldman Sachs were  joined by Halliburton, American Airlines and Bank of America.

Amazon earned nearly 100% positive ratings on all measures related to trust. More than 50% of the 14,000 respondents also recall discussing Amazon with friends and family in the past year; nearly 100% of these conversations were positive.

While the overall perception of corporate America remains relatively grim, the study also found some mixed signals regarding how people perceive the business sector. “The public seem to have become pragmatically realistic with their expectations of corporate America,” says Robert Fronk, executive VP of reputation management at Harris Interactive, publisher of the Harris Poll. "We characterize this year’s overall findings as the great muddling of corporate America.”

According to the study, 16% of the respondents  said that the reputation of corporate America showed some improvement, up from 9% more than in 2012, while 49% said it declined compared with 60% in 2012.

The study also shows that traditional CSR efforts don’t seem to cut it anymore. To wit, more than 60% of consumers now “pro-actively try to learn more about how a company conducts itself” before they are willing to consider that company’s products or services, the study said. Here's some more info about the group, which Harris calls "Seekers." 

  • Proactively engage in conversations with others about what they find out about a company

  • In 60% of cases, decide not to do business with a company because of something they learn about that company

  • Actively try to influence friends and family on whether to do business or not with a company based upon what they have learned about that company’s conduct

For more on The Seekers, see infographic below: