According to Reputation Institute, a global corporate reputation consultancy, consumers most value a brand’s products and services (19.7%), but this is followed closely by its governance (17.2%) and citizenship (15.8%).
These two perceptions of corporate reputation outweigh innovation (12.7%), leadership (12.3%), workplace (11.9%) and performance (10.6%).
Furthermore, the proportion of consumers citing governance and citizenship has grown 1.5% and 1.3% respectively since last year.
"Products and services are of course always the most important factor in determining reputation. However, it is fascinating that we are witnessing such a surge in the importance of citizenship and governance," said James Bickford, Managing Director at Reputation Institute.
"Having a positive influence on society is now the third most important attribute, behind having high quality products and being value for money. In order to have an excellent reputation it is becoming imperative for businesses to successfully communicate societal value, openness and fairness."
Reputation Institute also claimed that its research showed that reputation drives business results. It said just 23% of consumers would buy products from companies with an average reputation whereas 38% would buy from those with a strong reputation, rising to 77% if their reputation is excellent.
Companies in the UK judged to have such an excellent reputation include Dyson, the technology firm famed for its vacuum cleaners, luxury automaker Aston Martin, and Lego, the Danish toy manufacturer.
Reputation Institute's top 10 list of the most reputable companies in the UK also names Michelin, Sony, Waitrose, Intel, PayPal, Samsung and Rolls-Royce Aerospace.
German automaker Volkswagen, which took a big reputational hit after it admitted it had rigged diesel emissions tests, saw the biggest improvement (+13.1 points) over the past year, while Provident Financial Group suffered the biggest fall (-16.0 points).
Data sourced from Reputation Institute; additional content by Warc staff