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Harris Interactive is out with its annual ranking of the sixty companies in the country with the best reputations, and for the first time, Amazon has the top spot, followed by Apple, which slipped from the number one position that it occupied last year.

According to the press release, "The Walt Disney Company, Google, and Johnson & Johnson complete the top five. This is Google's eight consecutive top five appearance, an incredible achievement for a fourteen year old company."

At the other end of the scale, "AIG and Goldman Sachs return to the bottom two reputation positions on the list of the most visible companies, joined by Halliburton, American Airlines, and Bank of America. With a full six point increase in RQ score though, Bank of America had the highest year-over-year increase in the 2013 study. Best Buy and Honda experienced the greatest decline in RQ scores, 6.76 and 4.73 points, respectively."

Harris Interactive also says that "16 percent of the public said that the reputation of corporate America showed some improvement, 7 percent more than in 2012, while 49 percent said it declined, which was 11 percent less than those who felt this way last year. Only six companies achieved RQ scores of eighty and above, which signifies a great reputation, 25 percent fewer companies than in 2012 and nearly two-thirds less than just two years ago."

When broken down into specific categories, Whole Foods ranked at the top for "social responsibility," Google was tops for "workplace environment," Amazon was best in "emotional appeal" and "products and services," while Apple was given best marks for "financial performance" and "vision and leadership."
KC's View:
I'm sort of surprised that Apple gets highest marks for financial performance, considering the way that its stock has been performing, and it is interesting that Amazon - which only recently has gotten into the business of selling its own products with the introduction of the Kindle lines - does so well for products and services.

But the high rankings of Amazon and Apple says something about how people perceive, most of all, these companies as being relevant to their lives. And that's something every retailer in every venue needs to think about.