Just How Bad Are Social Media Platforms’ Reputations? Really Bad.

June 17, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories: Brand Metrics | Brand-Related | Digital | Industries | Social Media | Technology | Top Brands

Brand reputation matters, influencing anything from online purchase decisions to where patients decide to get care. But it remains to be seen how much of an impact it has on social media usage. Case in point: TikTok is soaring in popularity, but is one of the lowest-rated companies for reputation, according to the latest annual Axios Harris Poll 100 rankings.

Before having a look at which companies comprised the top- and bottom-10 this year, here’s how these companies made the list. Determining the most reputable US corporations involves a 2-part process. The first part surveys “the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either excel or falter in society.” The resulting 100 companies – deemed the “most visible companies” – are at that point ranked by a second group of Americans across 7 dimensions of reputation, thus determining the rankings. All told, 33,096 Americans were surveyed from March 11 to April 3.

At the top of this year’s list is Trader Joe’s with a Reputation Quotient (RQ) of 82.4. The company was ranked at the top of the list in the Culture dimension of the rankings, and was within the top three in 5 of the 7 dimensions of reputation. Trader Joe’s has been picking up plenty of accolades of late: it has been deemed the most “relevant” Grocery and Drug store in the US this year; has been ranked the 7th-most “intimate” brand; and ranked the second-most “loved” brand in offline conversations last year.

Trader Joe’s takes over the top ranking from Patagonia (RQ of 81.8), last year’s leader, which fell to #3 this year. Patagonia’s best ranking is for the Citizenship dimension of reputation, for which it ranked second. Just ahead of it is HEB Grocery (82.0) in the second spot; HEB Grocery ranked #1 in the Trust and Citizenship dimensions of the study.

Rounding out the top 5 overall are The Hershey Company (RQ of 81.8) and Wegmans (80.6).

A Gulf Between Tech Hardware and Services

In a separate article delving into the findings, Axios notes the gap in reputation scores between tech hardware brands and online services brands, though the gap is really between all the tech brands mentioned and the three social media platforms analyzed.

For example, hardware brands (granted, some of these brands offer more than just hardware) Samsung (#6), Sony (#10), Apple (#21), LG (#27) and Dell (#38) all ranked fairly highly among the most visible brands. Brands such as IBM (#11) and Microsoft (#15) likewise were towards the top of the list. Online services Netflix (#22) and Google (#31) also fared relatively well, although Spotify (#59) was further down the list. It still ranked highly compared to the 3 social media platforms measured, though. Those were TikTok, with a reputation ranking of 94 and an RQ score of just 63.7, Meta, with its ranking of 97 and score of 60.9, and Twitter, with its ranking of 98 and score of 60.3.

For context, social media platforms ranked worse than ExxonMobil and BP, and found themselves in the midst of such reputational “luminaries” [/sarcasm] as Spirit Airlines, Fox Corporation, and The Trump Organization, the latter of which ranked last on the list of 100 and last on each dimension of reputation. It was also the only to score below a 60 in its reputation quotient, with a paltry RQ of 54.5.

Check out the full rankings here.

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