3M, Gen Mills Among Top 10 in Reputation Poll

Best Buy and Target ranked further down the list-although the report indicates that both companies' reputations have improved during the past year.

3M Company and General Mills both ranked among the top 10 most reputable companies in the annual Harris Interactive RQ Study, which uses survey responses from 30,000 people to measure the reputations of the 60 “most visible” companies in the United States.

Maplewood-based 3M ranked third, up one spot from 2010. Golden Valley-based General Mills also climbed one position, landing in ninth place on the 2011 list.

Google ranked first, surpassing Berkshire Hathaway, which fell to fourth this year. Johnson & Johnson ranked second.

Harris surveys more than 30,000 members of the American general public, asking them first to identify what they perceive to be the nation's 60 most visible companies. They then rate those companies' reputations by answering questions in a variety of categories.

In the emotional appeal category, General Mills ranked fourth overall. 3M ranked second in the products and services category and fifth with respect to workplace environment.

3M and General Mills weren't the only Minnesota companies on Harris' list: Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., and Minneapolis-based Target Corporation ranked 27th and 28th, respectively. Although they didn't reach the top 10, both companies climbed a few spots from the 2010 list, indicating that their reputations are improving.

The survey assigns a reputation quotient, or “RQ score,” to each company based on the survey responses. General Mills and 3M are both among the nine companies that have consistently earned RQ scores exceeding 75 for the past decade. To top this year's list, Google had an RQ score of 84.

According to Harris, higher reputation scores indicate that consumers are more likely to purchase a company's products and services and recommend them to others.

Of the 60 companies included in Harris' survey, financial services firms and oil companies are perceived as the least reputable. AIG came in last, followed by BP, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup.

Download the full report here.

3M, General Mills, Target, and Best Buy are all among Minnesota's largest public companies based on revenue.