Facebook, Google, Amazon Lead In Value As Brand Rep Becomes More Important

Reputation plays a major role in how consumers choose to interact with brands and share their opinion on products and services. It will become more important as Facebook Graph Search changes consumer behavior in social media. So what's a brand reputation worth? General Sentiment tries to answer that question each quarter in a report that measures a brand's value based on news mentions and social media discussions. Here are the top five for Q4 2012.

Facebook took the top spot in the media value report for Q4 2012. If it's all about buzz, the social site knows how to create it. The social site increased its lead over the competition when it comes to ranking based on the impact of media, although many criticized it for copying Snapchat to develop Facebook Poke. The report estimates the combined value of news media, social media and Twitter at $753.4 million for the quarter.

Google, which reports Q4 2012 earnings Tuesday, placed No. 2 behind Facebook in the Impact Media Value category. The report estimates Google's value from news media at more than $174.3 million, followed by social media at $85.9 million and Twitter at $272.2 million, for a total of more than $558 million. The report points to the release of Google Maps app for the iPhone and the results of the Federal Trade Commission's ongoing antitrust investigation as deciding factors for buzz.

Amazon took the No. 3 spot with an estimated value of $479.6 million. The company introduced Amazon Prime, which allows consumers in the U.S. to stream movies and TV shows for a monthly fee. As the report points out, Amazon Web services also made headlines -- but the buzz brought more negative than positive news when the service went down on Christmas Eve, disrupting Netflix streaming movie services.

Apple -- at No. 4, with an estimated value of $443.8 million -- reached for a deeper piece of the tablet market by appealing to consumers wanting a smaller device than the iPad, but larger than the iPhone. In January, Apple slowed production of the Sharp and LG displays to half the original production orders, because some say the Mini iPad continues to show higher demand. In December, Apple said it would invest $100 million to produce computers in the U.S.

Microsoft -- at No. 5, with an estimated value of $276.4 million -- released the Windows 8 operating system, Windows Phone 8, and the Microsoft tablet, Surface.

Brand value is one thing -- but what about work culture and how companies treat employees? When it comes to Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013, it's not unusual to find Google in first place with free food and medical assistance, or even SAS in second -- but the list becomes a little surprising with Microsoft at the bottom, and Apple and Facebook nowhere to be found.

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