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Retailers Rank Highly on List of Canada’s Most Reputable Companies: Leger Study

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Shoppers Drug Mart is Canada’s most reputable company, according to the 25th Annual Reputation Study by Leger, and the Toronto Raptors is Canada’s most reputable professional sports team.

Leger, the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in eight Canadian and US offices, surveyed more than 38,000 Canadians to explore their perspectives on more than 285 companies in 30 different sectors. In 2022, a new sector was added—professional sports teams. 

Collectively, Canadian companies are experiencing a reputation crisis, and how they will respond is yet to be seen, said the report.

David Scholz

Dave Scholz, Executive Vice-President, Leger, said overall reputation scores have dropped again this year after two years of uncertainty and change through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The industries hardest hit are breweries, drugstores, hospitality and bookstores. Shoppers Drug Mart is the most reputable company this year; however, their score is down five points from the year before,” he said.

“The industries with the largest growth in reputation are the industrial category and the insurance industry. The industrial category’s reputation increase is driven by Boeing’s resurgence/recovery . . .  The insurance industry’s growth is broader, with four companies showing substantial reputation score increases this year: Canada Life, The Co-operators, Wawanesa and CAA.

Shoppers Drug Mart at Tsawwassen Mills in Delta, BC (December 2021). Photo: Lee Rivett.
Shoppers Drug Mart at Tsawwassen Mills in Delta, BC (December 2021). Photo: Lee Rivett.

“We saw no overall increase or decrease in reputation score over the past year in the pharmaceutical category, but we saw significant movement within the category. Pfizer’s reputation score shot up by 10 points in the past year, while Astra Zeneca’s decreased by seven points, showing the impact of the COVID-19 vaccines and how the ongoing discussion has shaped perceptions of these two companies.”

This year, the top 10 most reputable companies have an average score of 71 out of 100, with the highest scores (Shoppers Drug Mart and Sony) at 73. Ten years ago, the average score for the top 10 list was 83, with Google in the highest spot at 91. This is a 12-point average score drop in a decade.

“With overall reputation scores dropping so significantly, you would expect that more Canadians have a bad opinion of these companies. In reality, bad opinion ratings have not changed on average. Rather, we are seeing a drop in good opinion ratings and an increase in the percentage of Canadians who say they “know the company but not well enough to rate it”,” said Scholz.

“This mirrors the change in reputation we see when a company goes through a crisis. Canadians don’t flip flop between good and bad opinions; rather, we allow companies a grace period in which we are waiting to see what they will do next. Collectively, Canadian companies are experiencing a reputation crisis, and we are waiting to see how they will respond.

The challenge for companies will be to learn as much as they can about their stakeholders’ perceptions of them and look for ways to rebuild the relationships that have led to this decline. Canadians are open to feeling positive again, but what organizations do next will affect if these one-time positive perceptions can be rekindled.”

The Top 10 Most Reputable Companies in Canada in 2022 are:

1. Shoppers Drug Mart (Reputation Score: 73)

2. Sony (Reputation Score: 73)

3. Samsung (Reputation Score: 72)

4. Canadian Tire (Reputation Score: 71)

5. Interac (Reputation Score: 71)

6. Google (Reputation Score: 70)

7. Campbell (Reputation Score: 70)

8. Microsoft (Reputation Score: 69)

9. A&W (Reputation Score: 69)

10. Netflix (Reputation Score: 69)

Scholz said even the companies at the top of the list are not scoring as well as they used to 10 years ago. It was not uncommon when Leger first started this study to see scores in the 90s. It’s very uncommon to see that now.

“The interesting thing is that it’s modeling, or mirroring, what we see when an organization has a reputational crisis . . . If we have respect for an organization and we have trust in that organization, we’re willing to let them show us what they can do. And that’s what we’re seeing in the reputation scores. We’re not seeing people going from a good opinion to a bad opinion. We’re seeing people going to this holding pattern,” said Scholz. 

“It’s not that they have a bad reputation but they need to re-engage with people. Think about it in relationship terms. We’ve had a bit of a timeout and now we need to figure out how to get back together and feel good about each other again. If you’re in that holding pattern for a long enough time where you don’t know if they’re good or bad, it’s easier to build up bad perceptions or it’s easier to become complacent about that relationship. If I’m an organization I want to have a strong reputation, I want to be engaging with my stakeholders, I want to be creating that relationship with them and I want them to be feeling good about me. 

“That’s why we say they’re in crisis because people are starting to slip and they need to not be complacent about this. There needs to be some activity or actions, depending on the organization, and they need to listen to their customers and stakeholders and ask them why they are feeling this way. They need to go for couples’ counselling.”

Scholz said people are more likely to frequent a business and buy products from them if they have a good reputation. People are also more likely to want to work there. 

“I’m also more likely that if I have a problem with the product or with the service, to forgive you and come back again if you have a good reputation. From a larger perspective, when you start looking at where you’re going to be building new locations or where you’re going to be putting your organization, you want to get approvals, you want to go through that red tape process that retailers have to go through, it’s better if you have a solid reputation or easier if you have a solid reputation than if you don’t,” he said.

The Top 10 Most Reputable Professional Sports Teams in Canada in 2022 are:

1. Toronto Raptors (Reputation Score: 59)

2. Toronto Blue Jays (Reputation Score: 57)

3. Winnipeg Jets (Reputation Score: 55)

4. Montreal Alouettes (Reputation Score: 51)

5. Calgary Stampeders (Reputation Score: 50)

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (Reputation Score: 48)

7. Calgary Flames (Reputation Score: 47)

8. Edmonton Oilers (Reputation Score: 46)

9. Vancouver Canucks (Reputation Score: 46)

10. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Reputation Score: 45)

The Top 10 Most Reputable Airports in Canada are:

Image: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet

1. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) (Reputation Score: 71)

2. Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) (Reputation Score: 65)

3. YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (Reputation Score: 64)

4. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) (Reputation Score: 59)

5. Calgary International Airport (YYC) (Reputation Score: 55)

6. Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) (Reputation Score: 48)

7. Edmonton International Airport (YEG) (Reputation Score: 40)

8. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTO) (Reputation Score: 31)

9. Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) (Reputation Score: 25)

10. Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) (Reputation Score: 25)

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
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 is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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