e feel patriotic and sentimental about homegrown Canadian brands, but when it comes to reputation, we trust them less than the global titans. That’s one of the startling findings in our annual survey of the world’s most reputable companies, conducted by international research and consulting firm Reputation Institute. Only six of the top 60 global brands, as chosen by Canadians, are based in this country, and the highest-ranked national brand, Jean Coutu Group, shuffles in at spot 29. Our No. 1 favourite brand? Sony (more about that later). In general, Canadian companies received lower scores this year than last. This finding should worry marketers, as it follows two years of growth in advertising spending, and suggests that the anti-corporate noise of the past year has put some companies’ goodwill accounts into overdraft.
This year’s survey had two main components. Reputation Institute first polled Canadians about 100 multinational brands (selected based on a minimum revenue level, above-average reputations in their home countries and presence in 15 top international markets). Researchers then asked about the 50 largest companies based in Canada (ranked by revenue; all had to have significant visibility to consumers). The survey rated seven elements: performance, products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship and leadership. Our ranking features the 60 international brands with the highest scores, as well as the top 30 Canadian companies.
The results show that Canadians’ perspectives differ substantially from the global consensus. Only three of the top 10 multinational brands on our list—Sony, Disney and Mercedes—overlap with the 10 highest scorers on the institute’s global survey. It’s also noteworthy that a company’s performance can falter without diminishing its reputation with consumers; to wit: Sony. Armed with our lists of Canada’s favourite brands, we then asked experts to help us glean further insights into how these companies have built such potent reputations. Read on to discover what we learned.