Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore called Amazon Books in Seattle's University Village in November 2015. For the second year in a row, Amazon.com earned the best reputation among the 100 most visible companies in the United States, according to The Harris Poll. File Photo by SEASTOCK/Shutterstock
Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Amazon.com again earned the best reputation among the 100 most visible companies in the United States as Samsung dropped significantly in The Harris Poll.
Amazon.com, the online retailer, earned a reputation quotient of 86.27, ahead of two supermarket chains, Wegmans (85.41) and Publix (82.78) in the poll. Close behind in fourth was Johnson & Johnson at 82.57. Then bunched together were Apple (82.07), UPS (82.05), Wall Disney Co. (82.04) and Google (82.0).
Amazon, claiming the top spot for the second consecutive year, recorded the highest rating by any company during nearly two decades of surveying by Harris.
Apple was No. 2 last year with a score of 83.03.
Samsung fell from third to 49th after its Galaxzy Note 7 was recalled and subsequently removed from the market.
The worst-rated company in the 100 was Takata at 48.70 after massive recalls of its airbags. Wells Fargo, tainted by a fake bank accounts scandal, was 99th and fell 20.6 points -- the largest drop in the 18-year history of the ratings.
Volkswagen, plagued by an emissions scandal, had dropped 20.5 points in 2015. But this year it rebounded 8.7 points to finish 91st. Volkswagen tied with Toyota (80.21, 16th) for the largest increase in 2017.
Other companies showing big declines are Procter & Gamble Co. (-5.3), Chipotle (-4.6) and Bank of America (-4.6).
The Reputation Quotient Ratings are based on an online survey completed by 23,633 adults in the United States. The survey analyzes brand reputation in six areas: social responsibility, vision and leadership, financial performance, products and services, workplace environment and emotional appeal.
The poll was conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 16 of last year. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in an online panel, no sampling error can be calculated.
Ratings of companies also vary by political beliefs.
Republicans hold the reputations of Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby -- companies whose owners have vocally shared their conservative beliefs -- significantly more favorably than Democrats' views. Target is rated higher by Democrats than Republicans.
Overall, Chick-fil-A was rated 25th, Hobby Lobby 32nd and Target 58th.
"In such divided times, as companies scurry to figure out if and how to respond to the issues and commentary of the new administration, we find that corporate reputation perceptions can be just as polarizing," said Wendy Salomon, vice president of reputation management and public affairs at The Harris Poll. "Companies that have taken very public stands for their beliefs are rewarded by consumers of similar conservative or liberal views, but there is also clear risk among those who feel otherwise."
Tesla Motors, which makes electric cars, made its debut on the 100-member list in ninth place.
"Many companies with high reputations are fairly ubiquitous; you interact with them in your home, you shop at these stores and you use their services," said Salomon. "What's interesting about Tesla is that while Elon Musk undoubtedly brings a 'celebrity CEO' factor, it's a company that isn't accessible to most consumers. Given this strong reputational backdrop, and that Musk has the ear of the Trump administration, Tesla will be a fascinating company to watch moving forward."
In the poll, 17 of the 100 companies earned "excellent" reputation scores and 34 companies received "very good" scores.