Amazon tops an annual poll on the reputations of various major American companies. Tech giants Apple and Google filled out the top three positions.
The biggest loser of the 100 companies ranked by the Nielsen Company was Volkswagen Group, no doubt a consequence of having conducted one of the largest corporate corruption schemes of 2015. Last year the company announced that more than 11 million of its vehicles were equipped with rigged software that boosted its emissions reports when operating in a “test mode.”
The Harris Poll also divides its responses between the general American public and so-called Opinion Elites, who are “a sub-segment of the general public who are more informed, more engaged and more involved in current issues … [and] tend to exert influence over the general public,” according to a Harris press release.
The Opinion Elites shared similar views of the Top 3, but did give Apple a nudge up over Amazon for the number one slot. However, the Top 10 groupings are remarkably different, with elites choosing companies like Coca-Cola, UPS, and Costco over public favorites including financial services provider USAA, the Walt Disney Company, and Johnson & Johnson.
To reach the bottom of the rankings, a company has to have serious public relations problems. In fact, the grouping is like the most dystopian conference ever — all those companies collaborating to spill oil, invade Iraq, crash the economy, and offer terrible customer service while they’re at it. Halliburton, BP, and Comcast come in just before Volkswagen, while Monsanto, Goldman Sachs and AIG round out the least-popular companies in America on this latest poll.
Chipotle, another company that suffered a major reputation blow this year when dozens of customers across the United States caught E. Coli from tomatoes and sick employees at their stores, came out relatively unscathed from the report. It reported a 71.00 score, placing it in the “Good” category, though some of the data from the report had already been collected by the time the scandal broke. It was also Chipotle’s first year in the survey, so how it performs next year will be a major indicator of how well the chain weathers its first major storm.
Besides Volkswagen, which lost more than 20 points last year, the companies with the biggest declines were CVS and Starbucks, both of which dropped from “very good” to “good,” losing 5.0 and 4.6 reputation points respectively. Sure, CVS banned cigarettes from its stores this year, which may have pissed off a portion of the population, but what did Starbucks do? Is this about the red Holiday cups that didn’t feature enough Christmas symbols?
It seems there are many losers in the War on Christmas, and one of them is Starbucks’ reputation.