Apple has topped the ranks of other world-leading brands, organisations and consumer-focused product manufacturers, as having the best image for any American company.
As one might expect, in the midst of a Eurozone crisis and continued economic hardship, financial institutions ranked the worst.
Apple arrived at the top spot in Harris Interactive's annual public opinion poll on online brands. It even outperformed Google, which was relegated to number two. Not only that, the Cupertino-based company ranked higher than any other company ever had in the poll.
Last year, Apple brought out the long awaited iPhone 4S, amid disappointment over its lack of iPhone 5-goodness. The technology giant nevertheless outsold its previous range of smartphones in a record time, with over 4 million by the first weekend.
Out of just shy of 13,000 respondents, companies were ranked based on six qualities, including: leadership, financial performance, emotional appeal, workplace environment, social responsibility, and the quality of products and services.
Apple scored 85.62 on the scale out of 100, with Google following just behind on 82.82. Apple gained by the company driving for near-perfect product quality and its environmental record. In regards to emotional rapport, Steve Jobs' death is understood to have played its part in reviving empathy for the company.
But the company lost out on its position in China, where controversy bubbled just before and after Christmas, where workers at the Foxconn plant threatened suicide. Apple had been accused for supporting poor working conditions at the factories that make its flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablets.
Apple responded by probing the factories; with only today a statement from Apple saying that it has asked the Fair Labor Association, a third-party inspectorate, to look into its factories abroad.
Apple and Google aside, Amazon.com reached fourth place at 8.192, less than one percentage point away from its online cloud-storage rival.
Meanwhile, though Facebook is familiar to billions of people, with over 850 million users registered with the social network at the time of its initial public offering filing, did not appear on the list at all. "People don't currently think of Facebook as a company," Harris Interactive vice president Robert Fronk told Reuters.
But the figures appear to stop in the mid-80 mark. While Apple reached the highest score of any other company during this survey in its 13 years of running, many companies are suffering from bruised reputations.
The research group explained:
"An RQ score of 80 or above signifies a company with an "excellent reputation." Since first measured in 2000, Apple has shown steady improvement, earning an elite score of 85.62 this year, the highest RQ score ever achieved by any company in the 13 years of the RQ study.
Reflecting the negative mood of consumers, this year only eight companies earn such scores. This is a 50% decrease from 2011, when 16 companies earned this privileged status."
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