A company’s shareholder value doesn’t necessarily reflect its value to the wider world: how useful its products are, the good it does for people, how much it tries to minimize social and environmental harm. With that in mind, a new survey asked people to rank companies for their perceived “purpose”—the extent to which they stand for something other than making money.
Enso, a marketing agency, commissioned the survey which asked 3,000 people how they perceived the “world value” of 149 well-known organizations, from Disney to United Airlines (some non-profits were also included). The results are quite different from traditional brand valuations, like Fortune‘s Most Valuable Brands research, which focus on financial value to the exclusion of other considerations.
“People’s perception of the value of a brand are more important than ever,” saysBrian Hardwick, who led the research. “We were interested in how people perceive the impact of brands, and, if there is a gap between their impact and how people are perceiving it, whether there’s an opportunity for brands to close that.”
Goodwill, the charity group, tops the ranking, followed by Amazon, Google, Kellogg’s, and PayPal. At the other end are Marlboro, Monsanto, Red Bull, and Goldman Sachs. The surprise is to see several brands known for their purpose well down the list. Patagonia is 87th place. Unilever, a multi-brand conglomerate with impressive environmental performance, is in 116th. Airbnb, a leader in the sharing economy, is in 142nd place.