The Harris Poll this week released the latest results of its Reputation Quotient poll, which ranks the 100 “most visible” brands on the general public’s perception of them. Seven Washington companies (we’ll lump Boeing into the group) were included in the list, and by and large our state’s biggest corporations have a good reputation according to Harris Poll’s formula. But did they actually earn the high marks? Let’s dive deeper:
Amazon.com, No. 2: The Seattle-gentrifying, publisher-hating, worker-mistreating reputation of Amazon apparently failed to reach those surveyed, who are probably loyal Prime customers. But the company’s spat with publisher Hachette over ebooks and the Fire Phone disaster did have some negative consequences: Amazon fell from its perch atop the Harris Poll rankings last year.
Costco, No. 4: That Costco has a worse reputation than Amazon proves there’s a flaw in Harris Poll’s methodology. Costco pays its employees — all of them — well. It singles out talented workers and sends them to college. Its executives come from within the system. It keeps people well-stocked on free samples and paper towels. Maybe once millennials change their minds about Costco, it will take the top spot.
Microsoft, No. 15: At this point in time, Microsoft is pretty much forced onto people. Folks choose to buy Apple laptops, Android phones, and use Google’s search engine and email, but their bosses make them use Windows and Office at work. But it makes a ton of money and ooh, look at this thing. I guess Microsoft’s cool again.
Boeing, No. 19: In 2014, we were reminded of Boeing’s troubles with 787 batteries and its salty relationship with unions. But the Harris Poll survey takers still like flying, so unless Boeing built planes that frequently do this, the public will probably find it trustworthy. And those battery fires are so 2013.
Starbucks, No. 21: Starbucks coffee likely fuels the Harris Poll survey takers, but it just doesn’t have the same cache it did before Howard Schultz put them on every street corner. But don’t worry, Mr. Schultz has a plan to win this popularity contest.
Nordstrom, No. 47: Income inequality is all the talk these days, so no survey taker is going to say a high-end clothier like Nordstrom has a top-flight reputation. Sure, they’d like to buy every article of clothing from the Seattle retailer, but c’mon, it’s about politics.