There's never a dull moment when analyzing data. And the data behind this week's "WWD List" were no different (July 10, page 11). Reputation Institute (a reputable source, rightly so) released the results of its Global Pulse Study -- top companies ranked by corporate reputation, according to consumers. The firm broke out a separate list of retailers, so it was an ideal feature for WWD and its readers.
It became quite clear why companies such as Costco (#1) and Walgreens (#2) were ranking so highly on reputation: These top names are actively giving back to their communities and providing employee incentives, while many are also implementing initiatives to become more eco-friendly. Not to mention that these companies are not bashful about publicizing the good they do.
So, look at it this way: Knowledge is power. The more a consumer knows about a retailer, the more he or she will be inclined to choose to shop there. Consumers shop at stores they like, trust and that they know are going above and beyond to become better companies.
Price point is also a key issue for most of these retailers, as well. In fact, 12 highest-scoring retailers are all value-oriented, with J.C. Penney (#10) and Kohl's (#11) the only ones more moderate than mass. In this economy, consumers are clearly turning to Costco and Walgreens for their discounts.
Some additional key industry findings from the report:
- On average, the retail category posted a moderate reputation with U.S.
consumers. Industries that are highly regarded by the U.S. general public:
consumer products companies (including Kraft, P&G, J&J), industrial
products (Deere, Caterpillar, 3M, etc.) and computers (Dell, Intel, IBM, Texas
Instruments, etc.). The average scores for these three industries are 76, 76,
72, respectively, and for retail, 66. The average score across the study is
- In terms of industries, consumer products ranked the highest on national and international scales. The energy industry had the worst reputation in the U.S., while telecommunications companies had the worst reputation among consumers worldwide.
- Wal-Mart, which did not make the top 12, dipped in reputation standing from 2007 to 2008, despite recent efforts to green its supply chain. Newcomers to the study -- Toys 'R' Us, Office Depot and Staples -- jumped into the top 12 with strong showings.