Reputation has always been important, and in today’s world, it can make or break your business. With social media spreading both positive and negative word-of-mouth faster than the time it takes to react to a complaint, maintaining an outstanding reputation has never been more difficult or critical.

Reputation Institute (RI) recently shared findings from its 2019 Global RepTrak 100, which measures companies that have the best reputation among consumers.1 To determine the list, RI surveyed more than 230,000 individuals in 15 countries from January to February 2019. Companies considered typically have revenue in excess of $50 billion, a presence in all surveyed countries, and brand familiarity with at least 40 percent of the general population. The top 10 are:

  1. Rolex
  2. Lego
  3. The Walt Disney Company
  4. Adidas
  5. Microsoft
  6. Sony
  7. Canon
  8. Michelin
  9. Netflix
  10. Bosch

If you want to boost your own company's reputation in the public eye, you would do well to study these 10 companies. Rolex partners with winning personalities. Lego focuses on education and sustainability. Disney connects with consumers of different generations on an emotional level with its products. Adidas gets points for corporate responsibility.

Some of the world's most popular companies in terms of consumer use didn't score as well. Google fell out of the top 10 for the first time in nearly a decade, due to personnel issues and data breaches, and Facebook continued an ongoing decline, due to privacy concerns and the Russian political news stories. Apple has been slipping in recent years, due to corporate governance issues, such as labor problems in China and lack of product innovation.

Reputation Institute came up with six major takeaways from its findings about the companies it tracked:

  • Focus on enterprise
  • Deliver on corporate responsibility and sustainability
  • Leverage leadership
  • Express your story
  • Be more human
  • Engage market influencers

When it comes to focusing on enterprise, the firm indicates that how your own place of business is perceived matters even more than the goods or services that you're selling. This is what largely hurt Google in the rankings, according to RI.

"Enterprise dimensions – such as corporate responsibility, workplace, and leadership – are increasing in importance, while product-related dimensions are in decline," say Reputation Institute's research directors Ana Angelovska and Sven Klingemann, Ph.D. "In 2019, perceptions of who you are drives 66% of corporate reputation vs. what you sell, which accounts for only a third." 

With regard to delivering on corporate responsibility and sustainability, they note that being ethical and transparent while having a positive influence on society are "essentials" for reputation, but companies are generally not living up to consumers' perceptions of what they could be in this area. The researchers cite this as the biggest opportunity to build credibility.

On leveraging leadership, they point out that the reputations of CEOs are closely aligned with the businesses they represent, and that understanding what makes a reputable CEO can go a long way toward making a reputable company.

According to Inc., 10 personality traits make a good CEO:2

  • Ability to learn from the past
  • Strong communication skills
  • Building relationships
  • Realistic optimism
  • Understanding
  • Listening skills
  • Willingness to take calculated risks
  • Reading people and adapting to necessary management styles
  • Coaching employees effectively
  • Thinking outside of the box

The public's perception of the CEO makes a big difference when it comes to reputation. Regardless of how effective he/she is within the company, what outsiders observe is what  makes a difference.

Having a story to tell about your brand can also help perception of your brand, as it gives consumers a narrative to latch onto. The story doesn't have to be some unusual tale about the founding of your company, but can be as simple as an honorable mission statement. This goes hand-in-hand with the takeaway of being more human. Give your brand characteristics that people can relate to and admire.

Engage market influencers. Reach out to people who are respected among your target market and find out what it will take to form relationships that get your brand noticed. If well-respected individuals have great things to say about your brand, it’s a good way to positively influence your reputation.



The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC