10 Most Reputable Companies [Infographic]

most reputable companiesAs the recent recall woes of Toyota Motor Corp. have shown, companies flourish or flounder largely on reputation. A high-profile recall -- or series of recalls, as in Toyota's case -- can sully an otherwise polished and carefully crafted public image. That hurts not only a company's business but can also take a toll on employee morale.

Recalls aren't the only events that can tarnish a company's reputation, of course. Corporate scandals and recent bailouts of banks and automakers have given many Americans reason to view some U.S. firms in a negative light.

Overall, however, corporate America's reputation among Americans is on the rise, a recent Harris Interactive survey shows. Of those companies with notable changes in reputation scores during the past year, 18 of the 54 companies examined had "significant" positive increases. Also, 16 of the companies recorded a "Reputation Quotient" of more than 80, considered an "excellent" score by the polling firm.

The survey rated companies in six areas, including criteria such as social responsibility, financial performance and workplace environment, resulting in an overall score.

Internet search giant Google Inc. topped the list of high achievers, which was dominated by other technology companies and several consumer-goods companies. Among the top 10, Apple Inc., Amazon.com and 3M Co. benefited from being associated with both industries.

"These top scoring companies are seen as supporting the infrastructure of the lives of the American public, and they get credit for simplifying, delighting or enriching people's lives," says Robert Fronk, Harris Interactive senior vice president, in a statement accompanying the survey results.

Though banks and other financial firms continue to score low among Americans (along with oil companies), the reputation of automakers improved significantly -- despite Toyota's recall woes -- as General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group emerged from their bankruptcies with government help.

Further, the nation's only other domestic auto manufacturer, Ford Motor Co., which weathered the recent economic downturn without help from the U.S. government, ranked second only to Honda Motor Co. The Japanese carmaker has consistently scored high during the 12 years that Harris Interactive has conducted its reputation survey.

Those companies with high workplace environment scores, ranked in descending order, were: Google, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3M.

For more results from the Harris Interactive 2011 U.S. Reputation Quotient Survey, check out the infographic below.

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