What is the most prestigious company? Every year, Fortune releases its list of the world’s most admired companies. But how are these businesses ranked, and what can corporations do to change their online reputation year over year?
Over the past several decades, reputation has become an increasingly important factor of success for companies around the world. Almost anyone in any sector of business has likely looked at the Fortune 500 Most Admired Companies List, which ranks companies based on survey results paired with financial earnings and sales to determine who has the most success within their respective industries.
In the last several years, this most admired list has become more impressive, as COVID-19 related obstacles in various industries make positive reputations all the more impressive. And there are many other concrete rankings, from MBA-generated lists to employee-based rankings, that determine if a company is in good standing.
Rank is not only a reflection of a company’s ability but can bolster growth — by bringing in new clients, potentially expanding sales, and ultimately increasing revenue opportunities. Many top executives may find themselves wondering: How can my company ascend on the “admired list,” and how do I overcome the challenges of the global pandemic when it comes to my business operations?
Read on to learn the science behind the rankings, what are currently the most admired companies, and what makes them so successful.
The Data Behind Industry Rankings
Although “reputation” may seem like a vague term, these industry rankings actually have real data behind them — which is great, because it means there are tangible steps companies can take to increase their market value. The Fortune 500 Most Admired Companies List begins with revenue: the largest revenue-generating companies in the U.S., and international companies with a revenue of $10 billion or more, are included for consideration. This ranges from 5 to 15 per industry.
A consulting firm, Korn Ferry, then works to analyze the best-regarded companies in 52 industries, by surveying directors and executives on nine different criteria:
- Ability to attract and retain talented people
- Quality of management
- Social responsibility to the community and the environment
- Innovativeness including in technology
- Quality of products or services
- Wise use of corporate assets
- Financial soundness
- Long-term investment value
- Effectiveness in doing business globally and on the world stage
For each of these criteria, the survey respondents apply a score from zero to ten (“poor” to “excellent”). Thousands of top executives participate in generating this list.
In 2022, for instance, 3,740 executives, directors, and analysts were surveyed by Korn Ferry. The list is released every February online and in print, and has been a cornerstone for U.S. and global businesses since the 1950s!
Which Companies Are the All-Stars?
In addition to ranking the top companies in each industry, Fortune also releases “All-Star” rankings of all industries combined. The executives and directors surveyed around the world are asked to name their top 10 companies, regardless of industry, and these are compiled into an overall list.
How is this list determined? It’s a bit more complicated: The survey respondents identify 10 companies they admire most, regardless of industry, from “a list of companies that ranked in the top 25% of all companies the previous year; ranked in the top 3 within their industry the previous year (top 4 for non-U.S. companies); or a company that ranked among the top 50 All-Stars last year and did not make any of the above cuts,” according to Korn Ferry.
In 2022, the top 5 All-Star companies were:
Walt Disney Company
What About Other Sites and Surveys?
Fortune is not the only authority on company ranking. There are a number of in-depth business school studies that analyze corporate reputation, economic development, and workplace environment, using everything from audience insights (Glassdoor reviews or employee satisfaction) to hard data, like profits or revenue. Other key considerations include:
- Employee turnover and overall number of employees
- Income, assets and market value
- Global reach (number of countries the company is present in)
- Political and personal influence of the top executives
- Company age and brand recognition
Data Applied Globally & Leading Parent Company Categories
While many lists out there may focus on U.S.-based companies — think Goldman Sachs in New York or Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha — it’s crucial to examine the choices globally when evaluating company prestige. The state-owned banks of the country of China have billions in assets and profits, for instance. And international oil companies like The Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Shell, or BP with its parent company headquarters in London, are consistently one of the top choices globally when it comes to a powerful reputation.
Technology-based companies like Samsung and Apple are also repeatedly at the top of admired companies lists, as are insurance services companies like American International Group (AIG).
The Effect of the Global Pandemic
Over the past several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact across every sector of business, from technology to finance to healthcare and beyond. How workplaces have shifted office culture has had an impact on their notoriety.
For instance, employees may have become accustomed to the work-from-home life and are eager to continue working off-site — or perhaps there is no longer physical office space for employees to access. Even worse, a company’s bottom line may have been damaged during the finance fluctuations of the pandemic, and they may have had to eliminate jobs entirely.
All of these changes can affect employee well-being, which will absolutely trickle down to company reputation. Many CEOs have discovered the importance of team building and responding to employee preferences over the previous year, in an effort to keep turnover low and improve workplace culture. It’s in every company’s best interest to adapt to these challenges if they hope to stand out from their industry competitors.
Who Is Succeeding in Employee Satisfaction?
So, beyond the revenue and the assets, which companies have done the best job at making their employees happy? It turns out that many of the leaders in employee satisfaction are in networking, telecommunications, and related technologies. Silicon Valley-based companies like Cisco, Salesforce, and NVIDIA Corporation all rank in the top 5 of Great Place to Work’s 2022 Best Companies to Work For® list, which is based on over 870,000 employee survey responses.
Whereas the Fortune Most Admired Companies list is determined by higher-level directors and the company CEO, this employee-based list demonstrates how well companies are responding to their employees’ preferences. They listen to the needs of their workers, show genuine empathy, and create a true sense of purpose in the workplace, according to the survey.
How to Improve Industry Rankings
If reading this feels overwhelming, fear not: There are steps you can take to make your own company stand out even if you aren’t the CEO of a billion-dollar firm.
Take tips from the U.S. and world companies featured in the top rankings in recent years. While earnings are an important metric in growing your rank, there are a number of other takeaways you can use to boost your market value. For instance:
- Follow the same values as a Fortune 500 CEO and ensure your partners do, too. Integrity, respect and teamwork go a long way.
- Invest in your customer services. Word of mouth and online reviews will go a long way in empowering your team and bolstering your company image.
- Offer competitive benefits. Many of the top-ranked companies offer everything from excellent insurance, car allowances, 401k plans and more, to attract top-notch employees.
- Provide career opportunities to employees.
- Hire a reputation management company. A reputation management company can determine your need and help remedy past issues so that your online rank improves.
Finding a Reputation Management Firm
A reputation management firm can do everything from writing press releases on your behalf, publishing social media and LinkedIn updates, and deleting negative online information about your business. They’ll use proprietary technology to figure out which companies are your competitors, what past information may be beneficial or damaging, and extend any marketing initiatives to the right audiences. Web content can be created along with the ability to add web beacons on your site to track visitors.
It can be hard to know where to begin when finding a firm, but just as there are ranked listings of the world’s top billion-dollar companies, there are ranked lists of the best reputation companies. Accessing these lists makes it easier to choose a service that will help you ascend in your specific industry, based on your needs.
You can visit our site for a list of firms that will best fit your needs and preferences.
The Takeaway for Companies
While the Fortune 500 Most Admired Companies List seems like the leader when it comes to industry rankings, there are a number of ways to tell whether a company is at the forefront of its industry. Although U.S. companies are often seen as the majority of market value, deeper analysis shows that many of the world’s companies dominate the market.
There are a number of learnings even a new CEO can parse from the Fortune list, such as similarities in workplace culture and company benefits, which could improve any company’s standing if applied correctly. When in doubt, working with a reputation management firm can help you stand out in your industry and market if you aren’t sure where to begin — and may even land you on a “most admired list” one day!
Looking for ways to boost your online presence management? Read more on our blog!