After last summer’s scathing New York Times article and the subsequent fallout, Amazon’s reputation hardly seemed bulletproof. But the e-commerce giant continues to score top marks for reputation with everyday consumers.
Amazon ranks number one in the U.S. on the Reputation Institute’s annual report, out today, for the third year in a row. The report collected ratings from more than 83,000 Americans in areas including product/services, innovation, workplace culture, governance, corporate citizenship, leadership, and financial performance.
“Amazon had some challenges around workplace following that somewhat derogatory New York Times article and really Amazon still benefits from the strong emotional halo around its corporate brand,” said Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, VP of U.S. Strategy Consulting at the Reputation Institute. “That coupled with its phenomenal customer service experience has really held its form even in the line of that reputation risk.”
Amazon’s product and innovation ratings rose in 2015 but the company didn’t escape the year’s drama completely unscathed. The percentage of consumers who said they are unsure about Amazon’s workplace increased from 20 percent to 47 percent. Twenty-three percent of participants said they were unsure whether Amazon is sufficiently transparent about its activities, up from 15 percent last year.
“I think it’s fair to say that there are some underlying vulnerabilities for Amazon, as much as the reputation is still very strong,” Hahn-Griffiths said. “We have seen declines in the areas of perception around corporate social responsibility. So in things like workplace, citizenship, and good government we actually see a slight decline and an underpinning to Amazon’s reputation.”
The Reputation Institute also published the top 10 companies for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Samsung topped the CSR list and ranked third on the list of companies with the strongest reputations in the U.S. Amazon didn’t place in the top 10 for CSR.
Netflix and Sony also made the top 10 most reputable companies list. Google, Nintendo, Toshiba, HP, LG, and Adobe Systems all scored in the top 100.
Apple, arguably America’s most prolific brand, didn’t make it into the top 100, for the second year in a row. Despite strong scores on products, the lack of a corporate narrative or corporate citizenship hurt Apple’s public image, according to the Reputation Institute.
“Here’s a big learning for technology companies,” cautions Hahn-Griffiths, “you can’t just build a strong reputation through products and services alone.”