Apple has fallen 24 places in a huge annual survey of corporate reputations. The Harris Poll Reputation Quotient shows that the company fell from 5th to 29th place …

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Amazon maintained first place in the consumer survey of 25,800 US adults.

Reuters reports that Google also fell sharply from #8 to #28, while Tesla saw the biggest gain, from 9th to 3rd place. Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema attributed Tesla’s climb to Elon Musk’s PR ability.

Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed […] on the strength of sending 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.”

Amazon is said to maintain its lead due to the huge role it plays in the everyday lives of consumers. Gerzema did, however, have a less convincing explanation for the fall of Apple.

He told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

While the mythology of Apple launching endless new product categories under Jobs’ leadership is a pervasive one, it doesn’t bear scrutiny. Apple launched the iPod in 2001 with a six-year gap before the iPhone in 2007 and a three-year gap before the iPad in 2010.

My take is that the poll is more about visibility than reputation. It relies on people naming companies in response to open-ended questions. People are more likely to name brands that are in their minds at the time, whether it’s because they order from Amazon all the time or because a brilliant PR move got everyone talking about Tesla.

Another recent large-scale survey found that Millennials feel a closer bond to Apple than to any other brand, while a bestselling book argues that Apple may be the first tech company set up for ‘multigenerational success.’


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