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TODD SMITH — Wegmans, Amazon have best corporate reputations

TODD SMITH

Brands must constantly polish their image and shine their reputations. And brands must be constantly vigilant to moves that can dent their identity.

Just ask Facebook about what privacy concerns and unauthorized use of customer data can do, or Boeing about how a faulty computer system can wreck a reputation.

One scandal, fraud or flaw can taint an image for years. Rebuilding trust can take decades.

For the past 20 years, the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient has ranked the world’s most visible companies and organizations by reputation.

The brands range from online retailers such as Amazon.com to shopping centers like Walmart; and from the massive U.S. government down to regional grocery chains like Publix. The annual poll asked respondents to rate each company based on six measures: social responsibility, products and service, emotional appeal, leadership, financial performance, and workplace environment.

Grocery store and supermarket chains Wegmans and Publix enjoy good reputations because of their connections to the community and contributions to social causes. For consumer electronics companies Sony and Samsung, which also have solid brand identity, innovation is key.

In the most recent Harris Poll ranking, companies with bad reputations were found in the financial services and telecommunications areas, and that has been typical in previous years. These companies were chided for bad service, not speedily addressing missteps, and failing to provide a supportive work environment.

To determine America’s most and least reputable companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed reputation scores of the nation’s 100 most recognizable companies from the 2019 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ), produced by market research firm Harris Insights and Analytics. The study consists of two parts: a nominations stage in which consumers identify the nation’s most visible companies, followed by a ratings stage, in which each company’s reputation is measured on a scale of 0-100. Additional company information came from SEC filings and other publicly available documents.

Top 5 Companies with the best reputations

5. The Walt Disney Company – The Walt Disney Company has one of the best reputations of any company. The media giant has businesses in TV, news, motion pictures, and theme parks, and is one of the most recognized brands in the world. Disney’s successful, and often innovative, forays into multiple entertainment mediums keep it on the top shelf of great American companies.

4. L.L.Bean – L.L. Bean has built a reputation for making quality outdoor apparel and footwear products. And, the Freeport, Maine-based company has always been a highly regarded employer.

3. Patagonia – Patagonia, along with L.L. Bean, is one of two clothing companies to rank on this year’s list. Patagonia has reinforced its reputation on the quality of its apparel. The company guarantees the quality of all of its products and offers refunds, replacements, or repairs for customers who are not satisfied.

2. Amazon.com – E-commerce giant Amazon.com has continuously disrupted the retail landscape as it branched out from selling books online. Now, Amazon, with a market cap of more than $867 billion, competes against media companies such as Netflix, Internet search businesses like Google, and has gone up against Uber for on-demand transportation.

1. Wegmans – Wegmans has the best reputation of any company on the list, after finishing second last year. The supermarket chain has 98 stores in northeastern and mid-Atlantic states and employs about 49,000 people. Wegmans was cited for its high rankings in culture, ethics and citizenship categories in the Harris Poll. The chain is also recognized for hiring local residents. Wegmans has been named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune since the list was first introduced in 1998.

Tune in next week for the companies with the worst reputations.

Wahoowa Mic | Virginia takes 1st National Championship

Yes, Virginia, you are national champions!

De’Andre Hunter looked NBAish as he and his resilient Cavalier teammates claimed the college national championship trophy, outlasting the tenacious Texas Tech Red Raiders in one of the most thrilling March Madness moments, 85-77 in overtime. It was a game of defensive giants, and who could outlast whom.

Just a year removed from the crushing loss to 16th-seed the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers in last year’s tourney first round – they were the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 – and yet they found a way to keep coming back against Tech.

The Cavaliers saw a 10-point lead turn into a 3-point deficit before Hunter came to the rescue. The sophomore made the game-tying 3 with 12 seconds left in regulation, then made another with just over two minutes left in the extra period to give the Cavs the lead for good.

Hunter finished with a career-high 27 points, and if he leaves to join the NBA draft – what a final exclamation point for his college days!

Each of Virginia’s 34 wins leading to the final, and each of its three losses, were all punctuated by the reminder that only the end result would serve as the ultimate report card, whether the Cavs could notch an A+ in this final exam.

The Cavaliers rose to the occasion, and by will, determination, grit – and yes, more than a slight nod from lady luck, took the throne as national champs.

Perhaps it was the ice water cool and collected coach Tony Bennett, whose laser focus and poker face inspired his players.

“I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett told the Associated Press. “That’s all I want. You’re never alone in the hills and the valleys we faced in the last year.”

And what can you say about the never-give-up Red Raiders? They never quit, even after falling behind by 10 twice in the game. Their vaunted D kept them in the game, kept them within reach.

Led by a stagecoach full of future NBA stars, and the nation’s best defense, they nearly corralled the Cavaliers.

In his post-game remarks, Red Raiders coach Chris Beard was the epitome of grace, sportsmanship and resolve, paying the utmost of compliments to his players, and saying it was an honor to play Virginia. It’s that kind of sportsmanship, that kind of class, that kind of gentility that will etch this team into the history books.

And they will be back. Both will be back. And could be taking the March dance – that pageantry that mesmerizes us all – to a new Texas two-step high!

The Brandverse was also enthralled with March Madness, and created a bracket of their own to celebrate the season. PRWeek held a “One Shining Slogan” bracket – a fan inspired poll on the best ad campaigns. Throughout most of championship Monday, Nike’s Just Do It slogan was winning. But with a furious late rally, Got Milk? secured the victory and the title. Congrats to Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the creators of the campaign, and thanks to the thousands of fans who voted in this innovative poll!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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