The Harris Poll surveyed 14,000 members of the general public, gauging their feelings about the 60 most visible companies in the country. In the 2012 poll, Apple held the number one spot in reputation perception among consumers. This year, Amazon's composite score of 82.62 barely edged out Apple, which scored 82.54.
The poll gauges consumer perceptions across 20 attributes grouped into six dimensions of reputation. Those dimensions are Products & Services, Financial Performance, Workplace Environment, Social Responsibility, Vision & Leadership, and Emotional Appeal.
Dimensions for Harris' Annual Reputation Poll
Amazon led the pack in both Emotional Appeal and Products and Services. In half of the remaining dimensions, Amazon ranked in the top five performers. As noted by Harris' report (PDF) on the poll, Amazon received nearly 100 percent positive ratings on measures related to trust, as well as considerable support in Advocacy and Word of Mouth.
Apple ranked in the top five companies in four of the poll's metrics. In Vision & Leadership and Financial Performance, Apple took the top spot in perception.
In third place behind Apple was The Walt Disney Company, followed by Google, Johnson & Johnson, the Coca-Cola Company, Whole Foods, and Sony. Apple and Google had respective scores of 82.54 and 81.32, giving both an "Excellent" reputation by Harris' metrics. Apple's smartphone and tablet rival Samsung placed eleventh, climbing up two spots from last year with a "Very Good" reputation score of 77.7.
In last year's poll, Apple and Google were in positions one and two on the charts, while Amazon was in fourth place. Speaking with Yahoo Finance, Harris Interactive Reputation Management executive vice president Robert Fronk said that Apple's slight slip in reputation is due in no small part to the company's recent stock drop, as investors have become skeptical on its future earning potential.
"For a number of years," Fronk said, "their reputation was driven by their innovation, their products and services almost being ahead of their time and almost driving the market. Now, actually, financial performance is a dominant driver of their reputation. And of course, financial performance can be somewhat out of your control, as [Apple is] finding."