Like Momma always warned you, you are judged by the company that you keep.
The thesis that Mitt Romney’s problem with voters can be explained by how much he exemplifies Wall Street and the financial industry in the public mind finds support in an odd source, a new study of corporate reputation released by Harris Interactive.
Each year, the company surveys 17,000 American consumers, asking them their opinions of corporate America in general and of the top 60 best-known companies. The two companies with the best reputations for 2012 are Apple and Google. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is third.
Overall, however, the reputation of corporate America fell badly in the 2012 survey, after improving in 2011. Here are the five companies whose reputation suffered the most damage:
Recognize a pattern? Four of the five companies whose reputation fell fastest are in the financial sector, and the fifth, Berkshire Hathaway, is closely identified with it.
Overall, Harris found that 70 percent of Americans believe that the financial industry is hurting the U.S. economy, and 75 percent believe the banking industry is hurting the economy. In that kind of environment, positioning yourself as the defender and personification of those industries seems foolish.
Only four companies saw significant improvement of their reputation, while 15 saw declines. The company with the largest improvement?
Chrysler also saw improvement. It was ranked 57th of 60 corporations a year ago, and moved up to 50th in the new ranking. Finally, listed to the right are the Bottom 10 corporations as ranked by the Harris findings.
You’ve got six financial service companies or banks, two oil companies, a cable TV company and News Corp., the parent corporation of Fox News and a company embroiled in a nasty scandal in Great Britain over alleged bribery, wiretapping and invasion of privacy.
– Jay Bookman