Reputation on the Decline, International Surveys Show

Two interesting research studies results came out the past week.

The Reputation Institute (RI), released the results of the World’s Most Reputable Companies 2018 survey, the company’s annual Global RepTrak® 100 (RT100) rankings. The 2018 RT100 is  the world’s largest corporate reputation study of its kind. The RT100 is based on more than 230,000 individual ratings collected in the first quarter of 2018. It includes comparative rankings, demographic trends, and unique insights into the dynamics behind reputational impact.

The global study shows what drives trust and identifies supportive behaviors such as intent to purchase a company’s products, willingness to invest in, or even work for, the company.

The rankings drop for 58 percent of companies surveyed shows there has been a decline in trust and ultimately reputation. The results show that garnering support among stakeholders has become more difficult; that expectations have risen, making it harder to earn trust, attain benefit of the doubt, create consumer loyalty and entice investors.

I have a name for that – Stakeholder Reputation risk and defined it clearly in this post of mine.

The Reputation Institute researches the world’s most reputable companies. By tracking and analyzing stakeholder perceptions, they enable leaders to build better companies. The RepTrak® model analyzes the reputations of companies and is best known as the Forbes-published Global RepTrak 100.

Underlying the model is the RepTrak methodology, the global gold standard for measuring reputation. Learn more at:

On their website, the RI shares some key trending components worth noting as best practices for organizations aiming to boost their own reputation.

These include the need for the CEO to communicate authentically and the need to proactively navigate social issues, i.e the need for issues management will increase.

In another study, The Harris Poll RQ®; Amazon took the top spot. The 2018 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Rankings identifies the 100 most visible companies identified by U.S. consumers and ranks these companies based on their reputation in six different categories: Emotional Appeal, Products & Services, Social Responsibility, Vision & Leadership, Workplace Environment, and Financial Performance.

The Reputation Quotient is “technically designed to understand how a company is perceived in modern culture.” The measure takes the top most visible companies (for good or bad reasons) and evaluates them across six dimensions of corporate reputation attributes to arrive at a corporate reputation ranking. If a company is not on the list, it does not necessarily suggest that they have either good or bad reputation, but rather they didn’t reach a critical level of visibility to be measured. While other models measure reputation in a vacuum, the RQ® starts fresh each year by surveying the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies who either excelled or faltered in society.

Disney ranked high at No. 5, and Netflix, at No. 21, beat out fellow tech giants Google and Apple, ranked Nos. 28 and 29, respectively. Read the full release in PR Newswire.

The Weinstein Co., which has been embroiled in executive Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault scandal, and Takata, with its infamously defective airbags, came in last on the list at Nos. 99 and 100, respectively.

In the Forbes article – The World’s Most Reputable Companies 2018 the example is cited of Apple plummeting 38 spots to No. 58 on the 2018 RT100—a fall explained by various incidents involving ethical behavior, fairness, product value and transparency (alleged battery tampering, encryption conflict etc.)

The Forbes article has some clear and interesting advice for Apple on the matter.

Reputation impacts either positively or negatively in the minds of stakeholders, whether management likes it or not.