Google tops UK reputation charts

21 February 2011

LONDON: Google, Kellogg's and Apple are among the companies enjoying the best reputations with UK consumers, but the overall trust British shoppers place in brands is falling.

Research firm TNS surveyed 3,196 people, asking them to rate 75 leading organisations based on five dimensions - and operators within the technology sector made up 12 of the 25 premier enterprises.

The firms were ranked on five factors: trust, favourability, success, product or service quality, and general standing.

"We are seeing high reputation scores being driven mostly by a strong reaction to company success, proving that people are a lot more rational in their assessment of reputation," Gemma Hicks, head of stakeholder management at TNS, said.

Online and mobile titan Google led the rankings, followed by food group Kellogg's, electronics manufacturers Apple and Sony, and retailer John Lewis.

Gaming expert Nintendo, high-street chain Marks & Spencer, Tetley tea, Coca-Cola soft drinks and Sainsbury's supermarket came next in the list.

Asda and Morrisons further represented the supermarket industry, and Innocent smoothies, part-owned by Coca-Cola, took similar plaudits concerning fast-moving consumer goods.

Ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop, travel specialists Virgin Holidays and Kuoni, and Visa credit cards were also well-regarded by contributors.

Retailers logged the greatest average trust scores, as Marks & Spencer posted 63%, John Lewis recorded 59%, while Sainsbury's and Morrisons both hit 55%.

Kellogg's received 64% on this measure, beating Innocent's 56% and Innocent's 55%, TNS added.

When identifying examples of success, Microsoft generated 81%, just ahead of Apple's 80% and Google's 79%.

Outside of the technology category, Coca-Cola yielded 79% on this metric, Kellogg's registered 75% and Tesco secured 72%.

Google claimed pre-eminence in terms of quality, as 70% of interviewees awarded it an "excellent" or "very good" status.

Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, two comparatively premium retailers, lodged 62% and 61% respectively, suggesting their positioning is largely matched with actual performance.

"We also found that consumer trust in brands has dropped across most companies we indexed," Hicks added.

"This less emotional, more rational view of brands means that companies need to demonstrate that they are a provider of quality goods and services to be considered a highly reputable brand in a recessionary environment."

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by Warc staff