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Who’s This Year’s Most Reputable Company in America? (STUDY)

Yesterday, Forbes and the Reputation Institute released their list of the most reputable companies in America and the results are interesting.

To determine the list, the Reputation Institute, a private consulting firm, conducted an online study of nearly 33,000 Americans, measuring their perception of the 150 largest companies in the United States that they were “somewhat” or “very” familiar with, according to Forbes. Each company earned a “RepTrak Pulse” score of 0 to 100, representing an average measure of people’s feelings—or reputation—for a company. The scores were statistically derived from four emotional indicators: trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling.

So who won the title and bragging rights this year as the most reputable company in America?— Amazon.

The popular retail site’s pulse score totaled 82.70, which was 5.76 points higher than last year and 1.30 points higher than Kraft Foods, the second most reputable company. Amazon earned its No. 1 rank by providing value to users, staying ahead of the curve in technology and innovation and responding quickly and ethically to scandals.

“Amazon is the most reputable company in the U.S. in 2011 because consumers believe that it stands for more than what it sells,” Anthony Johndrow, managing partner at Reputation Institute, told Forbes.

Although a majority of the most reputable companies remained invariable, Amazon was a shocking newcomer to the top 10 rankings. Here are the rest of the top 10:

1. Amazon
2. Kraft Foods
3. Johnson & Johnson
4. 3M
5. Kellogg’s
6. UPS
7. FedEx
8. Sara Lee
9. Google
10. Walt Disney Co.

Last year’s winner, Johnson & Johnson (No. 3), has made the top 10 for the past six years. Food makers Kellogg’s (No. 5) and Sara Lee (No. 8) and tech giant Google (No. 9) all dropped two spots from 2010—but stayed near the top nonetheless.

Overall, consumer products, industrial products, food manufacturing, computer and general retail companies scored highest. At the other end of the spectrum, telecommunications, energy and diversified financial companies earned the weakest scores.

With the economic despair, it’s not surprising that the least reputable companies on the list were all financial-based (in descending order from No. 150): Freddie Mac, AIG, Fannie Mae and Goldman Sachs.

After an eventful year with the anticipation of the iPad and iPhone 4, I was also surprised not to see Apple make its way up into the top 10 (No. 46).

For further details about the study and to see the complete list, click here.