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Lego and IKEA Most-Respected Companies Worldwide, Study Finds

In its annual Global RepTrak survey, New York's Reputation Institute surveys more than 60,000 consumers in 29 countries to measure the corporate reputations of 600 of the world's largest companies.

This year's survey found Lego once again in the top spot, with IKEA holding its place in #2. Italian food conglomerate Barilla took the third ranking in the survey.

"IKEA and Lego are two companies that have taken responsibility for the development of their region and country and are seen as national icons," said Charles Fombrun, CEO of the Reputation Institute. "They have earned their trust, respect and admiration from behaving in ways that are relevant to their key stakeholders and that's why they're rated tops by the public."

The themes of food and children dominated the top of the list, with Lego, Italy's Barilla and Ferrero, Mercadona in Spain, Kraft Foods and Johnson & Johnson in the U.S., Danone in France and Canada's McCain Foods holding high spots. Other categories of companies that scored steadily high marks are consumer electronics -- Japan's Canon and Philips from the Netherlands taking the lead -- and automotive companies like Toyota and Michelin.

"The best regarded companies all enjoy positive word of mouth from consumers as well as high levels of trust, and respect in their home countries, because they have a clear and consistent reputation platform," said Nicolas Trad, a managing partner at the Institute. "These companies are reputing through actions and communications that make them relevant to their stakeholders."

The top-rated companies on the list -- Lego, IKEA and Barilla -- scored 85.01, 84.05 and 83.53 out of a possible 100 on the survey. The lowest-scoring companies, Halliburton and AWB (formerly Australian Wheat Board), scored 24 and 25 on the survey.

Research shows that people act towards companies based on their feelings. They are more likely to buy the products of companies they trust, to work for the organizations they respect, and to recommend companies they like.

Fombrun said, "It's important for companies to understand how much share of mind they have with consumers. This study sheds light on just how much or how little consumers really respect, trust, and admire large, national companies. Awareness is the first step in creating a change program that can truly improve a company’s reputation capital."

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