A Wall Street Journal article (free): Ranking Corporate Reputations, reports that Google placed third this year in the annual Reputation Quotient ranking, a debut on the list that puts it only behind only No. 1 Johnson & Johnson and No. 2 Coca-Cola Co.
For me, this is very easy to believe, I think few companies (and this article illustrates my point) have built and at the same time reinforce that brand and reputation on what seems to be an hourly basis.
From the article:
The creator of the premier Internet search engine made a striking debut this year [Google did it in only seven years] in the annual Reputation Quotient ranking, placing third among 60 of the most prominent companies in the world. Google, which took root in a Stanford University dorm room and was founded in 1998, ranked behind No. 1 Johnson & Johnson and No. 2 Coca-Cola Co., American icons that are both more than a century old.
Some survey respondents called Google "indispensable" and "priceless." Michelle V.L. Miko, a Web developer in Moss Landing, Calif., said she "can't even recall how many years I've been using Google. It instantly became my search engine of choice because of its simplicity, accuracy and the clean way the site is organized. I rely solely on Google for the many things I have to research like obscure music lyrics and medical terminology."
With feelings described by Ms. Miko and similar feelings I have encountered along the way (as recently as with a class I'm currently teaching), the challenge for the other large engines is to somehow (I often wish I had a marketing degree) fight back and demonstrate (it's easy to say, harder to show) that other companies both large and smal
offer excellent resources.
She says, "It instantly became my search engine of choice because of its simplicity, accuracy and the clean way the site is organized."
Well, these days Yahoo offers a clutter-free and personalized interface but hardly promotes it, MSN Search is a search box plain and simple, and Ask Jeeves is also uncluttered and will likely become less cluttered when Mr. Jeeves himself goes away sometimes soon. Also, Clusty, only a search box and tabs.
We can talk about the simple interfaces but the powerful and focused search options of specialized tools like SimplyHired.com, Indeed.com, Feedster, Findory, and MANY others later. For these companies, the challenge is getting people to just look and try.
The point is what I've said before, it's tough to get people to look at new things and/or break the habits they have already formed and in many cases with Google. This coupled with the fact that Google is so great at keeping their brand in the news can make a top reputation come together in a very short amount of time.
Of course, things can change very quickly, and with increased competition and Google getting involved in just about everything, this will be an interesting number watch in future years. I would also like to see surveys moving forward as to how Google is viewed by people in the industry itself, particulary its customers, moving forward. We know "fearing" Google is a popular topic these days.