The term refers to the observers’ collective judgments of a corporation based on assessments of financial, social and environmental impacts attributed to the corporation over time.
Many agencies or companies publicly assess the reputations of corporations. One of these is Fortune magazine which produces a global annual rating called the ‘world’s most admired companies’. The criteria used to rank these companies include innovation, quality of management, people management, financial soundness, social responsibility, product/services quality and global competitiveness. In 2010, Apple was ranked number one, followed by Google.
The Reputation Institute also carries out a project called the Global Reputation Pulse – this researches the reputations of the world's largest companies and identifies the ones with 'the best corporate reputations’.
Reputation rating agencies often use differing criteria and methods. As a result, though financial performance proves the most predictive factor of reputation score, the ratings vary considerably across assessors.