Chocolate company takes top spot in most reputable companies list

Posted by Isobel Drake on 8th May 2009

Ferrero has claimed the prized leading position as the most reputable company, according to research released this week which placed Woolworths as the only Australian-owned company in the top 200.

The Reputation Institute’s 2009 Global Reputation Pulse* placed the Italian-based maker of Ferrero Rocher, Tic-Tacs and Kinder Delight on top ahead of Sweden’s IKEA, and the US-based consumer products group Johnson & Johnson. Brazilian food group Sadia, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Mexican baker Grupo Bimbo were the other food and beverage companies to make the Top 25 list. While Unilever, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Kirin Holdings (owner of National Foods and Dairy Farmers in Australia) all made the Top 100.

Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, lead the way for Australia in 192nd position after increasing their reputation score by 5.3 points to 69.05 (although few Australian companies featured as the survey was limited to the largest 600 companies in the world).

“Strong business results begin with supportive behaviour, an endorsement that can be achieved with a strong reputation,” Nicolas Trad, Managing Partner at the Reputation Institute, advised. “As the leading companies on the 2009 Global Reputation Pulse show, even though companies are viewed with more scrutiny these days, a reputation is a business driver that helps them sustain support through the noise and come out on top with the consumer.”

Word-of-mouth support

According to the Global Reputation Pulse findings, a company’s reputation score has a positive and direct link to consumer attitudes and behaviours. For example, by improving its reputation score five points, a company can increase recommendations within the general public by 6.75 per cent. With 67 per cent of consumers saying they would recommend one of the world’s top 20 most reputable companies to others, improvements can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

The Reputation Pulse also discovered that 57 per cent of consumers would give the most reputable companies across the globe the benefit of the doubt in a time of crisis. This is a significant finding since having the benefit of the doubt can be a competitive advantage when launching a new product, raising the prices on services, or dealing with a negative public situation. In contrast, four out of 10 people would refuse to support the 20 least reputable global companies in a crisis, a public reaction that will put their reputation and business results at risk.

The recipe for reputation success

The Global Reputation Pulse study proves that excellent reputations are built across seven dimensions of reputation management: Products/Services, Innovation, Governance, Workplace, Citizenship, Leadership and Performance. It further shows that to establish a solid reputation, it is essential that companies address all seven dimensions. In fact, Global Reputation Pulse found that 16 companies excel by taking up the top five positions across the dimensions of reputation. Ferrero is the only company that is in the top five on all seven dimensions which explains why the Italians revere this company. The most influential dimension on reputation is Product/Services followed by Governance. However, to earn trust, admiration, good feeling and support companies need to address all seven dimensions of reputation.

“Companies that manage their reputation on a single dimension can falter when the tide turns against them,” added Kasper Nielsen, Managing Partner, Reputation Institute. “In contrast, companies that manage reputation broadly across several dimensions establish a solid emotional connection with stakeholders that will lead them to support the company both vocally and monetarily in any scenario.”

2009 Global Reputation Pulse – Top 25

1 Ferrero Italy 85.17
2 IKEA Sweden 83.98
3 Johnson & Johnson U.S. 83.58
4 Petrobas Brazil 82.37
5 Sadia Brazil 82.06
6 Nintendo Japan 81.63
7 Christian Dior France 81.37
8 Kraft Foods U.S. 81.09
9 Mercadona Spain 80.99
10 Singapore Airlines Singapore 80.97
11 Tata India 80.89
12 UPS U.S. 80.84
13 General Mills U.S. 80.80
14 El Corte Ingles Spain 80.80
15 Matsushita Electric Ind. Japan 80.31
16 FedEx U.S. 80.30
17 Grupo Bimbo Mexico 80.22
18 Honda Motor Japan 79.86
19 Whirlpool U.S. 79.86
20 Votorantim Brazil 79.59
21 Walt Disney Co. U.S. 79.44
22 China Faw China 79.35
23 Google U.S. 78.80
24 China Merhchants Bank China 78.72
25 Caterpillar U.S. 78.69

* The Global Reputation Pulse measures the corporate reputations of the world’s 600 largest companies based on consumers’ trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling about a company across seven dimensions of reputation in 32 countries.