Apple and Google take a tumble
Apple and Alphabet’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com maintained the top spot for the third year in a row, and electric car maker Telsa rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of fifth and Google dropped from eighth to 28th. Apple had ranked second as recently as 2016, according to the Harris reputation quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 US adults from December 11 to January 12 on the reputations of the "most visible" corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, said Apple and Google probably fell because they had not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings such as its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad. "Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys," Gerzema said. "We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do."
Meanwhile, Amazon held on to the top spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to second. Gerzema attributed Amazon’s ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives into areas such as groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from ninth to third on the strength of sending the Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket, despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on Earth, Gerzema said.
"He’s a modern-day carnival barker. It’s incredible," Gerzema said of Musk. "This ‘The Right Stuff’ attitude is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism," he said.
The reputation of Facebook improved in the 2018 study, despite being the target of questions from US legislators about the role of social media in Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook ranked 51st, its best showing since 2014 when it ranked 38th, the highest the firm has ranked in the poll.
In 2018, film production company The Weinstein Company made its debut at 99th out of 100 on the list after more than 70 women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone. Last place went to Japanese motor vehicle parts supplier Takata, whose air bags can explode with too much force and have been linked to 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
This prompted the largest recall in automotive history and forcing Takata and its US unit, TK Holdings, into bankruptcy.