Harris Poll ranks Tesla as automaker with best corporate reputation

Since the 1960s, The Harris Poll* has been publishing market research and consumer surveys on a wide variety of topics. The Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ) ranks the 100 “most visible companies” in the US in terms of their corporate reputations. The 2017 Reputation Quotient is based on a survey of over 23,000 Americans, who ranked corporations according to six criteria: Social Responsibility, Emotional Appeal, Products and Services, Vision and Leadership, Financial Performance, and Workplace Environment.


Above: Tesla Model X and Model S (Instagram: electrified_motors)

Tesla was included in the poll for the first time this year, and it came out of the gate strong - respondents awarded it an “excellent” reputation rating, and ranked it #9 among all 100 companies. That’s the highest of any automaker (Toyota earned the second-best ranking at #16, and emissions cheater Volkswagen came in last at #91). Americans obviously admire high-tech companies - Amazon took first place for the second year in a row, and Silicon Valley stalwarts Apple (#5) and Google (#8) also made the top ten.


Above: For corporate reputation, Tesla just debuted as the top-ranked automaker at #9 (Source: The Harris Poll*)

The rankings aren’t just about how much people like a company’s products or services - values and social responsibility are also critical elements of a corporate reputation. That’s why firms go to such lengths to convince the public that they play by the rules, and take good care of their employees, their communities and the environment (even when sometimes they really don’t). Tesla’s mission to make the world a better place, and its rejection of some of the auto industry’s excesses (such as pushy salespeople) have obviously earned some respect.


Above: A look inside a Tesla store (Image: Electrek)

“Values play a bigger role than ever before in corporate reputation, and the business significance of a company’s reputation has never been higher,” said Mark J. Penn, President of The Stagwell Group, which owns The Harris Poll. “Consumers are keenly interested in how companies engage with the world, and that includes corporate ideals.”


Above: What criteria the Harris Poll uses in order to judge corporate reputation (Source: The Harris Poll*)

It’s no surprise that consumers value companies that they deal with on a daily basis - the second and third firms on the list this year are regional grocery chains (Wegmans and Publix). Makers of well-known consumer products such as Johnson & Johnson (#4), Coca-Cola (#12) and General Mills (#13) consistently earn high rankings. This makes Tesla’s stellar debut on the list all the more impressive, considering that the average American (at this stage) has little prospect of owning one of its luxury automobiles.


Above: Tesla Model 3's base price point of $35,000 will soon make the brand even more accessible (Image: Motor Trend)

“Many companies with high reputations are fairly ubiquitous; you interact with them in your home, you shop at these stores and you use their services,” said Wendy Salomon, Vice President of Reputation Management and Public Affairs at the Harris Poll. “What’s interesting about Tesla is that while Elon Musk undoubtedly brings a ‘celebrity CEO’ factor, it’s a company that isn’t accessible to most consumers. Given this strong reputational backdrop, Tesla will be a fascinating company to watch moving forward.”


*Source: Harris Poll