The most-profitable companies have terrible reputations

A sturdy image doesn’t equal big profits, but there’s a movement afoot, says one PR professional.

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ExxonMobil, for instance, is No. 1 on this year’s Fortune 500, overall and in terms of profits. The oil giant unseated Walmart, which held the top spot last year. The big box retailer is No. 10 on the list of most profitable Fortune 500 companies.

But on a list that measures reputation, the oil giant ranked near the bottom, as did Walmart and several other companies that are among the Fortune 500’s most profitable.

“The disparity between reputation and profit has got to be a concern,” said Peter Himler, principle of Flatiron Communications.

PR Daily compared the 10 most profitable companies on this year’s Fortune 500 with the organizations listed on the 2012 Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient, a study that asks 30,000 Americans to identify the most-visible companies and then rate them based on their reputations in 20 attributes, including emotional appeal, products and services, social responsibility, and more.

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