Apple makes great products, so why doesn’t it have a great reputation? The simple answer is…

Apple makes great products, so why doesn’t it have a great reputation? The simple answer is…

Everybody knows Apple. Even if you don’t own an iPhone or a Mac, you’ve heard of the company. You’ve seen the Apple stores and the commercials. They’re trendy. Innovative. A company for the future.

So why didn’t Apple make this year’s RepTrak list of The 100 Most Reputable Companies in the US?

Reptrak Apple 2016

Reptrak says it’s because even though they have a well-received product, consumers don’t understand what’s behind the Apple logo. Are they treating their employees fairly (Workplace)? Are they doing things for the community or the world (Citizenship)? Do they make ethical decisions and are they being truthful with the public (Governance)?

A large portion of the people surveyed came back with a big “I’m not sure” in answer to those questions, causing Apple to place just out of the top 100 for the second year in a row.

Then there’s Apple’s biggest competitor in the mobile phone market, Samsung. This company went from a 77.7 score in 2015 to 84.4 in 2016. That put them in third place just behind Amazon and Hallmark.

Samsung’s saving grace wasn’t the quality of the phones, though they did rank higher than Apple for Products and Services. What pushed them over the top, was a rise in Leadership, Citizenship and Workplace. People trust that Samsung is doing the right thing more than they trust Apple.

That trust is going to not only influence Samsung’s bottom line, but also its standing in the financial world. If the Harvard Business Review is right, this increase in trust – particularly in the area of workplace reputation – also means Samsung will be able to pay less for top talent.

One of the interesting questions RepTraks asks on its survey is “Would you welcome this company into your community?” How would people answer that in regard to your company. Yes? No? Can’t say because I’ve never heard of them? That last answer is as bad as the one before it.

You can have the most ethical, reliable, environmentally safe company in the US, but it won’t help your reputation if no one knows it. When we think about transparency in a company, we often think only about the bad side. Are they telling us the truth when things go wrong? But transparency should also include the good side. We used to call that bragging, but now it’s called keeping the public informed.

Two other interesting notes:

Breaking it down by age group, the top 10 companies scored even higher with Millennials than non-Millennials. This is surprising since we generally think of Millennials as being much more difficult to reach than the consumers who have grown up with these brands.

Even more encouraging news: one third of the companies in the Top 50 Most Reputable list are new to the list which means it’s never too late to make a good first impression.