Survey Explores Industry and Corporate Reputation

Thom Weidlich 05.06.21


The RepTrak Co., which tracks companies’ reputations, has issued its annual Global RepTrak 100 survey, and it has some interesting things to say about corporate reputation and industry sectors. Communicators must concern themselves with reputation both for preventing and responding to crises.

The 2021 Global RepTrak 100 lists the top 100 companies with the best reputations based on online surveys. One theme is that a company’s reputation can be affected by its industry’s reputation. For example, in the past year, we’ve seen pharmaceutical companies’ reputations improve because of the industry’s involvement in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic (RepTrak’s study supports this).

Different factors affect different sectors. According to RepTrak, corporate reputation depends on perceptions of seven categories: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.

Citizenship has risen in importance, which may go to the current debate over how much companies should involve themselves in political issues not related to their core business. Alas, in the survey, companies get low scores on caring about the environment, especially among 18- to 24-year olds.

Product Quality

For most industries, the number one concern is product quality, followed by governance and citizenship. Some industries veer from this norm. The outlier industries are automotive; banks, diversified financials and insurance; consumer durables; household products; and media and entertainment.

Even for these sectors, product perception is most important — with two exceptions. The two are banks and media, for which governance is most important.

RepTrak surmises this is so because banking’s reputation hasn’t recovered from the Great Recession. This is supported by citizenship being banking’s second most important factor (products come in third). As for media, that industry is still dealing with the “fake news” label. These are also the two industries with the overall lowest reputations.

For automotive, financial performance makes the top three factors in importance. RepTrak says this may be because car sales went up during the Covid-19 pandemic, so concern about financial stability of the carmakers followed.

Best Reputation

The company with the best reputation is (drumroll, please) . . . Lego. That may surprise some people, but RepTrak says Lego often comes out on top in its survey. That is mostly due to the company’s strong reputation in the 15 largest economies. It also polls well across generations and scores big in both product and social (as in the “S” in ESG, or environmental, social and governance).

The RepTrak survey covers companies with at least $2 billion in sales that meet a familiarity threshold and reach a qualifying reputation score. RepTrak had data from 68,577 people in 15 countries who responded to online surveys.

Here are the five industries and ten companies with the best reputations:


  • Consumer durables and apparel
  • Technology hardware and equipment
  • Software and services
  • Household and personal products
  • Capital goods


  • Lego
  • Rolex
  • Ferrari
  • Bosch
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Canon
  • Adidas
  • The Walt Disney Co.
  • Sony
  • Microsoft

Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock

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Related:Harris Poll Shows Risk of Crises to a Company’s Reputation