While the American public continues to take a very dim, and often highly cynical, view of the integrity of corporate America, the reputation of certain large companies among these, on the healthcare side, Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New York) is positive.

According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive (Rochester, New York), 71% of consumers have a poor perception of corporate America, but they will buy, recommend and invest in companies that they highly regard.

Robert Fronk, senior VP and senior consultant in reputation strategy at Harris Interactive, told Bloomberg that this is the 9th year that Harris has done this Reputation Quotient (RQ) survey and for the fourth consecutive year the general public has had an eroding perception of the overall reputation of corporate America. However, this year, for the first time in those four years, Fronk said Harris has seen the RQ scores of individual companies improve.

"So the public is actually able to discern between thinking about corporate America at large and [thinking about] individual companies who are actually practicing strong reputation management," Fronk told Bloomberg.

According to the Harris survey, J&J's reputation ranked second out of 60 of the "most visible" companies in the U.S. with an RQ score of 81.28 only surpassed by a nose by Google's RQ score of 81.85.

Fronk noted that these two companies represent the types that frequently meet the well-regarded criteria: promising hot new companies, and companies that have established themselves over time as reputable. Google, of course is a current star in the web-based limelight, and J&J has received strong positive public approval ratings for the past several years on the survey.

Harris said that, for the survey, it interviewed more than 20,477 members of the general public between Feb. 7 and March 3 of this year and, based on respondents' ratings, calculated an RQ for each of 60 companies that Harris identified as being the most "visible."

The companies were evaluated on 20 attributes, each measured on a 7-point scale (7 the strongest score (in a "describes very well" category) and 1 the weakest ("does not describe well"), falling into six key dimensions: emotional appeal, products and services, social responsibility, vision and leadership, workplace environment, and financial performance.

Other companies making the list with med-tech or health-related offerings include some big conglomerates and Internet stars: 3M (St. Paul, Minnesota); Tyco (Pembroke, Bermuda), which spun off its healthcare business, Covidien (Mansfield, Massachusetts), last year; Intel (Santa Clara, California); General Electric (GE; Fairfield, Connecticut); Dell (Round Rock, Texas); Microsoft (Redmond, Washington); and Pfizer (New York).

Of those, Intel ranked third, on the heels of J&J, with an RQ rating of 80.38; 3M seventh with a 79.88 rating; Microsoft 10th with a 78.80 rating; GE 25th with a 74.11 rating; Dell 31st with a 73.03 rating; Pfizer 37th with a 70.38 rating; and Tyco 50th with a 63.45 rating.

Both Pfizer and Tyco are new to the RQ study list, Harris noted.

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