The world's top 10 companies, ranked by reputation

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What Are The Biggest Companies In The World?

Luxury watch brand Rolex is the most reputable company in the world, according to the Reputation Institute's annual rankings.

The Reputation Institute sorts companies according to the public's perception of their performance in seven areas: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership, and performance.

Chocolate maker The Hershey Company is the most reputable brand in the US, but the brand is much less well known internationally, so it did not make it into the list. Facebook did not even make it into the top 100.

After the emissions scandal that engulfed the company last year, Volkswagen dropped from being the 14th most reputable company in the world in 2015, to position 123 this year.

To compile the rankings, The Reputation Institute collected more than 240,000 ratings, from 15 countries. You can see the full results here.

Scroll below to see the top ten

10. Apple. RepTrack Points: 76.6.

Apple's reputation is getting worse, according to the study. The company has dropped from seventh place in 2014's rankings, to eighth in 2015, and it now sits at tenth. However, the tech company came out on top in both the innovation and the leadership categories.

Here's everything Apple announced at its Keynote on Monday, including its new, cheaper-than-ever iPhone.


9. Sony. RepTrack points: 76.7.

Sony proved it is as a truly global brand. The company made it into the top ten most reputable brands in ten out of 15 of the countries surveyed. On this metric, it was only beaten by Rolex.

This year Sony faced criticism over its failure to release singer Kesha from a six album contract with one of its record labels, Luke's Kemosabe Records. Kesha alleged that her producer at the label, Lukasz Gottwald, sexually abused her.

Aside from music, the Japanese conglomerate makes electronics and produces movies, and video games. The company was founded in 1946 by Masaru Ibuka.


8. Canon. RepTrack points: 76.9.

Canon is the third most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The world's biggest maker of cameras and printers has been expanding further this year. It just announced that it would buy Toshiba's medical devices unit for nearly $6 billion.


7. Microsoft. RepTrack points: 77.0.

Microsoft has returned to the list, after it dropped out in 2015. It came out as the third most reputable brand in Asia. Microsoft is performing particularly well in the detachable tablet market, outperforming Apple.

Microsoft is predicted to take a 74.6% share of the detachable tablet market by 2020.

The company's biggest businesses in 2016 include the Windows operating system, the Xbox and Microsoft Office.


6. Lego Group. RepTrack points: 77.4.

Lego remains the most reputable brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

This year Lego faced a serious backlash after the company refused to sell artist Ai Weiwei a bulk order of its plastic bricks. The Chinese artist had planned on using them to make a political point, which went against the company's rules. The toy-maker later reversed this policy.

According to a report by Brand Finance, Lego is the world's second most powerful brand, after Disney.


5. Daimler (Mercedes—Benz). RepTrack points: 77.7

Daimler dropped from third place to fifth in the global reputation rankings this year.

Daimler sold 2.9 million cars in 2015, up 12% from the previous year, it was announced at the company's annual press conference.

Daimler-owned Mercedes could soon become the car brand most closely associated with Uber, as the taxi app just announced an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, according to Fortune.


4. BMW Group. RepTrack points: 77.9.

BMW dropped from first place in 2015, but it retains its lead on fellow-German car rival Daimler.

BMW celebrated its 100th birthday this year. To celebrate, it released the concept car it predicts everyone will be driving in 100 years.

As well as producing BMWs, the company makes Mini cars and oversees productions of Rolls Royce vehicles.


3. Google. RepTrak points: 78.1.

Google came top in the performance and workplace categories this year, but it slipped from second place — which it had held in 2015 and 2014.

The search-ad business has had another important year. Last October is re-shaped its corporate structure to form a new parent company, Alphabet.


2. The Walt Disney Company. RepTrak points: 78.2.

The Walt Disney Company came in the top ten in each of the seven categories. The huge media and entertainment company came first in the citizenship and governance categories, making it unlucky to miss out on the top spot.

The company is not afraid to stand up to things it disagrees with. On Wednesday, Disney Film Studios announced that it will boycott Georgia if it brings into law a bill that would allow officials to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, reports The Guardian.

The California-based company employs around 185,000 people across various divisions, according to its website.


1. Rolex. RepTrak points: 78.4.

Rolex's position as the most reputable brand in the world is down to its incredibly high reputation for products and services. It was also in the top ten for every other category.

Luxury watch brands have suffered over the past year, after facing a declining market in China. Consumers in the country bought 40% fewer Swiss watches — including Rolex, Swatch and TAG Heuer brands — than they did in 2014, Sky News reported.

The luxury watch brand was founded in London in 1905, before moving operations to Switzerland at the end of the first world war.


Here's how the rankings have changed over the past few years:

Reputation Institue rankings

Related: Original company names

6 PHOTOS
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The world's top 10 companies, ranked by reputation

Best Buy
Original name: Sound of Music

Not to be confused with the iconic movie musical, the electronic store that you now know by Best Buy was once called Sound of Music.

The company was developed in 1966 and originally specialized in stereo equipment. 13 years later, Roseville, MN was struck with a massive tornado, destroying the entire store and the majority of its merchandise.

In an effort to make back money that was lost in the damages, the store had a “Tornado Sale”, selling damaged merchandise and what was left in the stock room. The sale was supposed to be a “best buy” as prices were so low and customers were getting great deals.

The success of the sale led to a new strategy of discounted goods and eventually to a new appropriately chosen name, Best Buy. 

Photo credit: shutterstock

eBay
Original name: AuctionWeb

In 1995, a website named AuctionWeb was launched as a sub-site of an overarching company called eBay Internet.

Its founder, Pierre Omidyar, saw the success of AuctionWeb blow up and knock its three sister sites out of the water.

Ironically, media outlets everywhere referred to AuctionWeb as eBay, and in order to capitalize off the success and marketing already in place, the company changed the name officially in 1997. 

Photo credit: shutterstock

Pepsi-Cola
Original name: Brad's Drink

We’re pretty happy this name changed, because going to a restaurant and asking for an iced-cold Brad’s just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

When Caleb Bradham first invented the drink in 1893, he simply tacked the first half of his name on to one of the soft drinks he created.

5 years later, the drink was named Pepsi-Cola, stemming from the word “dyspepsia” (which means indigestion), as Bradham thought that his drink would help aid in digestion. Our post-Pepsi bloat would probably disagree, but hey, so worth it.

Photo credit: AP

Subway
Original name: Pete's Super Submarines 

A little sandwich shop by the name of Pete’s Super Submarines opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, CT and sold over 300 subs on the first day.

A year later, the company’s cofounder Dr. Peter Buck decided to change the name to Doctor’s Associates Inc. to represent his hopes of making enough money in the sandwich business to pay the rest of his tuition.

There wasn’t much success in the first two names so the cofounders hoped third time would be a charm. Their sandwich chain goes by a name you may know called Subway. 

Photo credit: Getty

Google
Original name: BackRub

When creators Larry Page and Serge Brin created what has now become the world’s most known search engine in 1996, it was originally named something much, well, different than what we know today: BackRub.

Yes, really.

By 1998, the pair officially registered Google.com after the mathematical number ‘gooogol’, which they hoped would symbolically represent the infinite amount of information users could reach via their search engine.

Photo credit: Shutterstock
 

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