The Consumerist (read more below) reports on the 10 best and worst reputations in corporate America. As I looked at Google (best) and Halliburton (worst), my thoughts turned to Brand Tags, a cool site that decodes what big brands actually mean (as viewed by people who visit the Brand Tags website). As is often stated: companies don’t own brands, consumers do. That is, people will chose what a brand means and there is little that a company can say to change that image (often, it is up to what they do).
When looking at what brands are most often rated “good”, Firefox and Google are second and tenth after do-gooder Amnesty International and among Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF (not WWE), Whole Foods, Toyota, and the Discovery Channel. MSN, AOL, and Internet Explorer were third, fifth, and seventh in the “bad” listings among Wal-Mart, Exxon, Marlboro, and McDonalds. Evian is “pure”, Apple is “cool”, Harley-Davidson is “wild”, GE is “light”, and Beijing 2008 has significant issues (as shown below in a sampling of the website’s output, misspellings and all):
Like most great Internet tools, this application is painfully open and honest. It strongly exposes brands for what they are; for what they are is how they are perceived in the consumers’ minds. If you are lucky enough to have a brand that is featured on this website, use it to change your perceptions (through your actions and offerings). If not, talk to your customers and hope that they are honest with you. These insights are invaluable.