Samsung trumps Google, Apple and Facebook on reputation

Samsung, the tech industry’s most reputable company?

That’s according to a new report out today from the Reputation Institute, an advisory firm.

Apple, the most valuable company by market capitalization and Samsung’s biggest competitor, ranked 21st among its 48 tech brethren.

That’s because Apple’s reputation is “not one that is open and transparent. It’s not as focused as much on helping consumers but more focused on products,” said Brad Hecht, vice president and chief research officer at Reputation Institute.

In contrast, Samsung “is the beneficiary of not being Apple, not being the center of the hurricane,” he said. The South Korean firm doesn’t have much negative press, it has irreverent ads and it talks about values such as “co-prosperity,” Hecht added.

In the Silicon Valley echo chamber, tech companies and their leaders tend to regard themselves largely in positive, even heroic, terms (rescuing the economy, supporting free speech, reinventing industries, making customers’ live better, etc…).

Perhaps the most surprising ranking is Facebook’s — a shocking 40th.

“Facebook is not perceived as being open, transparent and authentic, having strong products or making a positive impact on society,” Hecht said.

That’s a harsh assessment, and difficult to reconcile with the popularity of the social network, its warm and fuzzy vibe and the firm’s strong Wall Street performance. Even after Hecht told me what goes into a company’s reputation, I remain skeptical on this one.

Overall, the tech industry’s reputation remained stagnant this year, at about average, compared to last year. What industries do better? Consumer, transportation and healthcare, to name three. Hecht says tech companies, in general, struggle with talking publicly about what they are doing for the greater good of society.

Here are the top 11 tech firms when it comes to reputation, according to the Institute:

  1. Samsung
  2. Hewlett-Packard
  3. Microsoft
  4. Google
  5. SAP
  6. Intel
  7. NCR
  8. Adobe Systems
  9. Texas Instruments
  10. Toshiba

(Amazon is not included in this ranking because the Institute considered it retail. If it was included, Amazon would rank first among tech companies).

The Institute report is based on a survey of 27,000 “educated consumers” based on seven factors: Products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and financial performance. To rate a firm, respondents first had to say they were familiar with the company. Each firm received a minimum of 100 responses.

A higher reputation generally translates into an increased interest in customers buying the company’s products and regulators being willing to give it a pass, according to the Institute. It also helps the firm’s stock. But what about Apple and Facebook, two strong performers, with comparatively low reputation scores?

“The correlation we have found is that the top 10 most reputable firms each year outperform the S&P in overall return,” Hecht said. “That does not mean that individual firms with lower reputations can’t have strong returns.”

Last year, Samsung ranked eighth and Apple was 19th. This year, Samsung led Apple in the governance, citizenship and products categories.

But Apple has seen a boost in its workplace category, thanks, Hecht said, to more publicized news about things like parental leave.

Hecht noted that Apple’s leadership ratings haven’t dropped since Tim Cook took over the company in 2011 from Steve Jobs.

Above: Samsung Electronics logo in Seoul. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images).


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  • Brett

    Ok great.

  • retiredinboyntonbeach

    This is a joke, right? This srticle, and/or the survey it describes, is/are jokes, right?

    • Don Smith

      yep….paid advertisers

  • retiredinboyntonbeach

    Funny — I just read a different online article on the topic of corporate reputation, with a very different survey outcome. Barron’s annual survey puts Apple at the top of the “respectability” list (for the 5th time in 6 years). Here’s a direct quote:

    “…In dictionaries of the future, “respect” might be defined simply by the Apple logo. That’s the message of this year’s annual Barron’s ranking of the world’s most respected companies, which finds the maker of computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and watches in first place — again. Apple has claimed the top spot in five of our past six surveys…”

    I guess it depends on who asks, who is asked, and how it’s asked…

    • Don Smith

      It is BS…..This firm is from Europe…every six months they list Samsung as the number one, and Apple doesn’t even make the list…..they are located in Europe and Asia with two token offices in the US….NOTHING they list should ever be taking seriously…they get paid by companies to be on the list

  • Don Smith

    This is that BS polling firm from Europe…every six months they list Samsung as the number one, and Apple doesn’t even make the list…..they are located in Europe and Asia with two token offices in the US….NOTHING they list should ever be taking seriously

  • Forest
  • SomeGuy

    Forest- Different View of samsung is written by aapleinsider so im sure there is absolutely no bias there.

    Don- This article is focused on reputation not respect. I respect Apple more than any company out there because of their ability to shaft consumers and still be the most profitable. (my opinion) Apple is a fantastic business but again in my opinion care more about the product and themselves more than the consumer.

    Furthermore, clicking the link brings you to the actual sire and full report. This article does not say that Apple is inferior, it only sheds light on the fact that many people, regardless of where they are, belive that samsung is a “good” business.

    Lastly, this article is not a smartphone article, it is a tech article. Samsung is involved in numerous other tech ventures which could easily help its mark on this poll.

  • Required “YES” to be included in The Survey: “do you own/use a Galaxy Anything type of phone”

  • amygdala

    Dude, this is obviously paid advertisement, not news