Marks and Spencer tops CBI poll of companies with best reputation

Marks & Spencer tops the list of companies with the best reputation, according to a survey of 1,960 consumers by the CBI.

The high-street retailer gained almost twice as many mentions as the next highest, John Lewis Partnership, closely followed by the Virgin Group.

The next three highly-rated companies were Tesco, Sony and ASDA, with Amazon, Apple, Boots and the BBC completing the top 10.

The survey revealed that well over half of consumers will pay a premium to the company they believed had the best reputation, even if they can buy a product or service cheaper elsewhere.

Excellent customer service was cited by almost half of all survey respondents (48%) as the characteristic that most helps a firm build its reputation. Another third (36%) said that products and services always living up to expectations mattered most.

Seven per cent said a good reputation was down to being a good employer, while 4% attributed it to brand appeal.

Richard Lambert, the CBI director-general, said: “What comes through in our survey is that great reputations rest or fall on delivery. Whether the promise is of quality, fun, value or luxury, the 21st century customer is savvy enough to sniff out and avoid the shoddy or disappointing.

“Environmental credentials and social responsibility are also becoming increasingly more important to consumers’ purchasing decisions.”

The banking and finance sector was cited by a third of consumers as most in need of restoring its reputation. This may have increased due to the recent troubles of Northern Rock. Almost a fifth of consumers said transport providers, such as bus, rail and coach companies most needed a reputation boost.

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