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Social Responsibility Helps Drive Corporate Reputation

After a seven-year reign as the company with the best corporate reputation, Johnson & Johnson has been toppled by Microsoft, according to the eighth-annual Harris Interactive/The Wall Street Journal ranking of the world's best and worst reputations. Respondents gave Microsoft very high marks for leadership and financial results, but chairman Bill Gates's personal philanthropy also boosted the public's opinion of Microsoft.3M finished third.

Social responsibility, which is becoming an ever-more critical component of corporate reputation, contributed to the positive survey results for several other companies, including Whole Foods Market and Merck.

Whole Foods placed 12th and received the best score of any company for social responsibility. Respondents praised it for its focus on quality and organic products. Merck jumped six places to No. 39, as the publicity campaign about its assistance programs for the needy helped offset the negative impact of its withdrawal of Vioxx from the market.

The bottom finishers were Comcast, ExxonMobil, and Halliburton.

Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) »

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