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Most Respected U.S Companies Revealed

Food company General Mills has unseated Amazon as the most respected large company among U.S. consumers, according to research by the Reputation Institute – in the same year that the cereal maker dropped off Ethisphere’s Most Ethical Companies list.

In the just-released 2012 U.S. RepTrak Pulse study of 150 companies, General Mills ranked number one with a “Pulse” score of 83 after just missing the top 10 in 2010 and 2011.

The company scored strongest in three key drivers of reputation, namely Products & Services, Governance and Leadership. It also ranked number one in Citizenship.

Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills, said that innovation, a commitment to protecting the environment, and strong community engagement were key drivers in his company’s business strategy.

The study was based on 10,198 responses from online consumers in January and February 2012. Reputation Institute asked respondents about large U.S. public companies that either engage in public-facing commercial activities or are reasonably known to the general public. Consumers described their perceptions of up to five companies with whom they were “somewhat familiar” or “very familiar,” and all companies were rated by at least 100 respondents.

While 91 percent of companies saw their scores stay the same or drop in the RepTrax Pulse study, a handful of companies did show significant improvements in their Pulse scores. These companies were largely viewed by the public as turning in strong financial performances while doubling down on successful citizenship efforts. The biggest movers included AIG (+16), ExxonMobil (+7), General Mills (+6), and Abbott Labs (+6).

The biggest drops in reputation in 2012 include Time Warner (-10 points), Bank of America (-10 points), AMR (-9 points), Altria (-9 points), and UAL (-9 points).

After General Mills, companies rounding out the top ten were Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Amazon, UPS, Coca-Cola, Apple, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble.

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