Just read an interesting release dictating how GM, Ford and Microsoft are together at the top of a list concerning corporate reputation. Even though this particular list deals more with spin than substance (it's an assessment of how news coverage reflects and helps shape the corporate reputations of America's 100 largest companies), it still shows that the news cycles have been kind to some major manufacturers of late.
2007 Q3 Top Ten Companies:
1. General Motors
3. News Corp.
4. Ford Motor Company
6. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
7. The Walt Disney Company
According to the Cision survey:
Capping a high volume of favorable news in the third quarter, GM announced second quarter profits and an historic contract agreement with the United Auto Workers. GM received positive environmental coverage for the marketing of its Saturn Vue and its plans to manufacture the Chevrolet Volt electric car by 2010.
Microsoft Corp. secured second place with news of upward economic performance, record sales of its Xbox game, Halo 3, and a recent investment in Facebook.
News Corp. remained in third place with high-profile news coverage of its $5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Company Inc., the owner of The Wall Street Journal.
Ford Motor Company advanced 20 places to fourth place with positive media attention on environmental issues and product coverage as well as favorable financial coverage from its second quarter earnings report. (Editor's note: Ford's fourth place ranking this quarter marks its ascent from 97th place in the fourth quarter of 2006 -- Most Improved?)
Favorable coverage continued for Intel Corp., putting it in fifth place on news of a 44% profit surge and an 8% rise in second quarter revenue.
Positive media attention in the second quarter also benefited Wal-Mart Stores Inc., advancing the company eight spots to sixth place with the announcement of a stronger-than-expected gain in June sales and the expansion of its $4 prescription drug program.
The Walt Disney Company moved up to seventh place. In response to high-profile toy industry recalls, Disney announced plans to independently test toys for lead paint to ensure products meet safety standards.
Positive financial news in the third quarter also benefited The Boeing Company in eighth place, as the company reported strong financial results with a 27% boost in second quarter earnings. Meanwhile, its revenue grew 8%.
Verizon Communications (ninth place) gained favorable coverage with news that it would buy Rural Cellular to help cut roaming expenses and other operating costs.
Beating Wall Street forecasts, IBM landed in tenth place as the company reported its strongest underlying growth in more than six years.
Interestingly, there's a lack of oil and gas companies on the list "corporate reputation list" despite pretty many of them being on the IW 500 list (and also despite efforts such as Chevron's multi-million dollar image makeover attempt).
Another fascinating omission? IW US 500 member and IW 50 Best Manufacturer Apple, Inc. If there's a company that I would think would top this kind of ranking (especially since the smashing success of the iPhone) it'd be Cupertino's finest.
Oh well -- I guess Steve Jobs will have to wait until the upcoming December issue of IndustryWeek to get the recognition his company is (so not) sorely lacking...