Samsung’s reputation in the US slid to No. 49, marking the biggest drop in the recent years, a survey showed Monday.
According to 2017 Reputation Quotient Ratings by Harris Poll, Samsung ranked No. 49 among 100 corporates surveyed.
The firm’s reputation quotient fell 46 spots compared to 2015 when it ranked No. 3 and topped Apple and Google.
Samsung came in at seventh place last year and has secured a spot in the top 10 in the last three years.
The Harris Poll Reputation Quotient measures the reputations of the most visible companies in the US, as perceived by the general public.
E-commerce giant Amazon topped the ratings, followed by grocery chain operators Wegmans Food Markets No. 2 and Publix Super Markets No. 3, the survey showed.
The survey evaluates public perceptions across 20 attributes, classified into six dimensions of corporate reputation: Social responsibility, vision and leadership, financial performance, workplace environment, emotional appeal, products and services.
“The failed Galaxy Note 7 and the arrest of the heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong on bribery charges are huge negatives,” said Suh Yong-gu, a professor of marketing at Sookmyung Women’s University.
“Samsung has to overcome its tarnished reputation by rolling out a better gadget, and use Lee’s arrest as a chance to enhance transparency by cutting off collusive links between business and politics.”
Samsung Electronics discontinued sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7, its flagship smartphone, in October last year, after recalling millions of units worldwide due to faulty batteries that caused the gadgets to catch fire.
Prosecutors investigating the political scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye and Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil arrested vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Lee Jae-yong on charges of bribery and embezzlement last week.
Lee became the first leader in Samsung’s 79-year history to be put behind bars in a criminal investigation.
Illegal actions by corporate leaders was one of the biggest risk to corporate reputation, which was cited by 85 percent of Americans surveyed, according Harris Poll.
Other risks factors include lying or misrepresenting facts about a product or service, account manipulation and security or data breaches.
When asked which company damaged their reputation the most this past year, most consumers cited Wells Fargo, where bank employees created over 1.5 million unauthorized fake bank accounts. Followed by Volkswagen, which recalled millions of vehicles worldwide due to false emissions test results, and Samsung, Harris Poll said.
Some 2.3 million American consumers participated in the online survey between Nov. 29 and Dec. 16 last year.
By Kim Bo-gyung (email@example.com