Google, Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire are the most admired companies in Canada in 2017 while the reputations of tomato ketchup company Heinz and smartphone firm Samsung tumbled from last year, according to the NATIONAL Public Relations and Leger Corporate Reputation Study.
This marks the 20th edition of the Leger study that ranks corporate reputations yearly. It is the second year that NATIONAL has partnered with Leger and the first year for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business as its media partner.
“Over the past 20 years we have seen that very few companies manage to make it out of a crisis quickly and fully recover lost brand equity. This year’s results are compelling when it comes to demonstrating that Canadians are not passive in their judgment and do not forgive quickly. As trust and authenticity become the dominant drivers behind brand equity, making somebody trust you again is no easy feat.”
Christian Bourque, Executive Vice-President and Partner at Leger
For Google, it is the fifth straight year that it has earned the number one ranking in the study. Rounding out the top 10 corporate reputations in Canada are: Tim Hortons, Dollarama, Staples, Sony, Kellogg, Campbell Company of Canada and Home Depot.
Heinz, however, has dropped from its 2016 number two ranking to the 23rd position. The company has experienced much uncertainty and upheaval with plant closings and layoffs. Samsung, meanwhile, fell to 24th from its seventh place ranking, which it held for the past two years. Its overheated and burning smartphones, provoking a multi-million dollar public relations crisis, are behind its fall.
“What is very obvious today, more so than at any time since Leger began conducting its reputational research, is that companies must be able to withstand scrutiny that comes from journalists, customers, regulators and increasingly shareholders in a 24-hour, always-on, social media environment,” says Kim West, Partner & Chief Client Officer, NATIONAL Public Relations, Toronto. “It’s a world in which there are few places to find cover.”
Among sectors, the study finds that the reputations of entertainment and industrial companies are declining, compared to breweries and automobile companies, which are on the rise.
Volkswagen is an example of consumers’ renewed faith in the auto industry.
Last year, the car company was the biggest loser in the reputation survey after it was caught cheating on emissions tests.
But since its public relations disaster, Volkswagen has worked to restore its brand, pulling itself up from its 226th ranking to 164th place this year.
The 2017 reputation study is composed of 234 companies. Only companies with presence in all Canadian regions are part of the Canadian ranking.
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