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Retail Sector Dominates Top 10 Most Reputable Companies in Canada List: Leger Study

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The retail sector dominates the Top 10 Most Reputable Companies in Canada in the 2021 list that is annually produced by market research and analytics company Leger.

According to Canadians, the most reputable companies in Canada this year with a maximum possible reputation score of 100 are:

  1. Canadian Tire (Reputation Score: 80)
  2. Shoppers Drug Mart (Reputation Score: 78)
  3. Kellogg (Reputation Score: 75)
  4. Sony (Reputation Score: 74)
  5. Campbell (Reputation Score: 73)
  6. Google (Reputation Score: 72)
  7. Samsung (Reputation Score: 72)
  8. Interac (Reputation Score: 71)
  9. YouTube (Reputation Score: 70)
  10. Dollarama (Reputation Score: 69)
Dave Scholz

The 24th annual Reputation study has tracked the reputational rise and fall of numerous companies over time. Leger surveyed more than 32,000 Canadians to explore their perspectives on more than 275 companies in 29 different sectors.

“The results do not show massive change this year; rather, they provide lessons in what leads to a reputation shift and the difference between a strong reputation and one that is fragile,” said Dave Scholz, Executive Vice-President at Leger. “The rise in media coverage of pandemic news and all other issues put many companies out of the spotlight and, if they had a sufficiently good, stable reputation, we saw little movement.

“Overall, I’m kind of heartened by the fact that reputation didn’t change much this year. We had a year of pause for a lot of corporations and especially for a lot of retailers and in general, Canadians feel in a similar way to them than they did a year ago.

“For organizations that had a particularly tumultuous year or years leading up to the pandemic – like SNC Lavalin as an example – they had a year off. They’re the most substantial improver because they were not being discussed about any of their crises in the media on a regular basis. Other organizations had to live up to a little bit of a stress test. And you look at some general decreases with organizations like Amazon, Walmart, Sobeys grocery retail chain . . . The way people are working with these organizations and some of the ongoing coverage of these organizations being open while other smaller businesses were not has hurt the reputation of these companies.

Exterior of Shoppers Drug Mart. Photo: Shoppers Drug Mart

“Amazon, along with the shipping and couriers which also had a bit of a hit this year, it’s the overall stress test that now more and more people were starting to use these services and more and more people are expecting something different from them and they haven’t necessarily lived up to the pre-pandemic billing.”

Scholz said one of the keys for companies is building a base reputation that comes from delivering quality products and quality service.

“When we look at the pillars of reputation and what is driving reputation amongst retailers, it’s all about the quality of products and services. But to move to a top 10 level like a Canadian Tire you need to adopt some of the intangibles that go along,” said Scholz.

“It isn’t just about the quality of the products and service you give. It’s the fact that we feel you are committed to us as Canadians. We feel we’re part of that organization . . . That brings the companies to a level where they’re a little more revered within Canadians’ retail status.”

The Leger report said the hospitality industry has been hit hard reputationally as travel declined drastically, resulting in a collective four-point reputation score drop. In contrast, increased usage strained other industries, including the courier/shipping sector, which also experienced a collective four-point drop in reputation score. Online shopping increased drastically, and Canadians’ patience was challenged in terms of delivery, said the report.

“With Canadians spending more time at home and embracing food and home cooking more than ever, the packaged goods/food industry benefited reputationally, as did other sectors whose products and services were embraced by Canadians due to the pandemic,” said the Leger report.

“The pharmaceutical industry saw a plus one increase this year, driven largely by an increase in reputation for Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Bausch Health related to increased media coverage around vaccine development, followed by roll-out. The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and the next year will continue to be challenging for some industries. Going forward, we will monitor which industries and companies successfully transition to a post-pandemic life. Those that do so while leading the way for economic and social recovery will likely be rewarded in the next edition of our Reputation study.”

Scholz said payment service companies, like Interac, received a boost as they provided consumers with the trust and confidence to make online purchases.

“I think it’s no surprise where VISA has a campaign right now where they talk regularly about being comfortable making your purchase because it’s protected because you’re safe,” said Scholz.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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