NEW YORK: All-conquering Google, which has trounced arch-rival Microsoft in almost every online arena, has delivered yet another blow – this time to the software titan's reputation.
The 2007 Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient survey shows the web search leader atop the league of America's most trusted companies, knocking Microsoft from the number one spot.
In fact the latter has plummeted to tenth place behind the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods and Warren Buffet's investment colossus, Berkshire Hathaway.
The full top ten list is as follows (with last year's position in parentheses):
1. Google (4)
2. Johnson & Johnson (2)
3. Intel (16)
4. General Mills (6)
5. Kraft Foods (not listed)
6. Berkshire Hathaway (21)
7. 3M (3)
8. Coca-Cola (5)
9. Honda (14)
10. Microsoft (1)
The phone survey of 7,000 consumers, followed by 20,000 online interviews, asked them to rate companies' reputations in six categories: emotional appeal, products and services, social responsibility, vision and leadership, workplace environment and financial performance.
Comments Robert Fronk, senior consultant at Harris Interactive: "The positive perception of how you treat your employees, your corporate-social-responsibility efforts, and your products and services and the amount of media that can generate probably trumps any adspend they would ever want to make."
Among the companies conspicuous by their absence from the top ten are Detroit's Big Three automakers: Chrysler (51), GM (52) and Ford (54).
Adds Fronk: "The American car companies continue to suffer from a fundamental tenet of reputation: If you don't produce a good product, you won't get credit for any of the other things you are doing.
"So their investments in social responsibility and campaigns they're doing in those areas become white noise."
Their languishing reputations contrast starkly to that of Japanese rival Honda (9), whose corporate affairs spokesman Marcos Frommer said: "We know that consumer purchase decisions are influenced by [reputation], and the younger generation is making employment decisions based on corporate reputation."
Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff