According to the 2012 Harris Poll Annual RQ Public Summary Report, which ranks the most visible companies by their brand reputation, Apple is the most reputable company in the world. Apple, which was ranked 5th place in 2011, leapt past the competition and 2011 frontrunner Google with a Reputation Quotient (RQ) of 85.62, the highest score in the 13-year history of the study.
Three of the top four brands on the list are technology companies. This year's top 10 list was rounded out by Google (82.82 RQ), The Coca-Cola Company (81.99), Amazon.com (81.92), Kraft Foods (81.62), The Walt Disney Company (81.28), Johnson & Johnson (80.45), Whole Foods Market (80.14), Microsoft (79.87) and UPS (79.75).
The Reputation Quotient is a score based on six different categories comprised of 20 total attributes. The RQ categories are Social Responsibility, Emotional Appeal, Products & Services, Vision & Leadership, Financial Performance, and Workplace Environment. Apple was ranked the highest in four of the six categories, with Whole Foods Market taking the top score in Social Responsibility and Amazon.com ranking first in Emotional Appeal. Apple ranked second and fourth in those two categories, respectively.
Harris Interactive's summary report (PDF file) pointed out that Apple's score this year is the result of 12 straight years of improvement, and contrasts the company's dramatic performance against that of HP. While Apple ranked 34th in 2000 and 40th in 2001, HP ranked third place in 2000, and has since fallen to 25th place in 2011 and 32nd place in 2012.
Also of note in the study is that the technology industry has the highest reputation out of all industries according to the polled general public. Ranked in last place, even beneath the tobacco industry, is the government.