Rolex Rises in Reputation Rankings

Business direction background with two people

Rolex, The Walt Disney Company and Google top Reputation Institute’s 2016 Global RepTrak 100, the world’s largest annual survey of corporate reputations. The RepTrak System measures the general public’s perception of the world’s top companies on the seven key rational dimensions of reputation: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.

An “excellent” reputation is represented by an overall RepTrak Pulse score of 80 or higher. A RepTrak Pulse score of 70-79 is considered “strong,” while 60-69 is “average.” None of the companies in the Top 100 scored below 67.

“The Global RepTrak 100 shows that to be a winner in the global market, companies need to deliver on all seven dimensions of reputation,” said Kasper Ulf Nielsen, executive partner at Reputation Institute, in a news release. “The top three companies all demonstrated strong or excellent scores in each dimension, which means that consumers are more likely to buy and recommend their products and services.”

One notable absence from the RepTrak 100 is German automaker Volkswagen, whose reputation dropped by 13.7 points globally in the wake of an emissions scandal. VW earned a strong RepTrak Pulse score of 75 in 2015, good enough for 14th place on the Global RepTrak 100 that year, but dropped to an average RepTrak Pulse score of 61.3 in 2016, falling to 123rd position.

Across the seven dimensions of reputation, VW saw an average drop of 10.9 points, with the biggest drops in governance, citizenship and leadership. VW also saw a drop across all supportive behaviors, which underscores the impact of a company’s reputation on the business.

The top 10 companies in this year’s rankings are:

  1. Rolex
  2. The Walt Disney Company
  3. Google
  4. BMW Group
  5. Daimler
  6. LEGO Group
  7. Microsoft
  8. Canon
  9. Sony
  10. Apple

Consumers identified Rolex as the global leader in products and services, while Apple remains the global leader in innovation and leadership. Google earned top marks on performance and workplace, with The Walt Disney Company perceived as best in citizenship and governance.

Out of the 100 companies that made the list, only six companies managed to make their way into the top 10 across the majority of the markets. Rolex, which occupied the fourth spot in 2014 and 2015 but jumped to first place overall in 2016, ranks in the top 10 across 11 markets – the most out of all companies.

Microsoft returned to the top 10 in 2016 after a one-year absence, replacing Intel, which slipped to 11th place. Though it remains in the top 10, Apple slid from 7th place since 2014.

Download the complete list of Top 100 Reputable Companies.

What’s New With Apple?

8024486It’s time.

The world’s been holding its breath … the iPhone 6 has arrived.

At this point, for me at least, nothing is shocking anymore. Nothing is so new that I cannot contain myself and I MUST own the new iPhone immediately!

According to a recent article in Forbes, this will be Apple’s most challenging launch. Why? Because for once, Apple is actually late to a trend. Last week the rumors of an extra-large iPhone were confirmed when Apple announced the new design for the 6. Apparently, the latest trend in smartphones is to make them “phablet” size. This word was just recently added to my vocabulary, and the best way to define it is as what would happen if a smartphone and a tablet had a baby — a phablet.

This particular smartphone design has proven to be most successful in developing nations because it is small enough to be a phone, yet large enough to function much like a tablet for watching videos and other such activities.

The Forbes article gives some statistics, “Over 70% of Internet users in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, 47% in Saudi Arabia and 44% in India use their smartphones to watch online video.”

I understand and appreciate the many benefits of this phablet phenomenon, but for me, I think I’ll stick with my pocket-sized iPhone 5.


Paige Ferise, a sophomore at Butler University, is interning in the Indiana Chamber communications department this summer.

Apple Reaches Settlement in E-Book Pricing War

Step into my room at home and you’ll find a row of book-lined shelves, stacked atop one another and overflowing onto my desk. When I was younger, summers meant days filled with devouring books. And yes, I was that kid who brought books to school and read whenever a spare moment presented itself, only occasionally hiding them beneath my teacher’s line of sight so I could read during class (but only if it was a book I absolutely couldn’t put down).

As a book nerd, I’ve kept up a bit with the raging paper versus e-book war. Personally, my loyalty remains with paperback books. I enjoy physically turning the pages and have felt a sort of cold detachment whenever trying to read an e-book. On the other hand, I have nothing against e-books and believe the two forms can co-exist peacefully—someday.

But for that day to come, publishers and booksellers need to straighten out e-book pricing issues. In April 2012, the U.S. government sued Apple and five of the biggest publishers for contracts Apple made with the publishers that raised e-book prices. The agreement in these contracts involved the publishers establishing book prices and Apple receiving 30%. The purpose was to force Amazon, who often sold below cost, to raise e-book prices.

Apple has now reached a settlement in this e-book pricing lawsuit, in which it faced up to $840 million in claims. The terms of the agreement have not been made public.

This is only one example of the controversies e-books have caused in the publishing world, but hopefully this is a step in settling pricing issues.

In the meantime, as a stubborn paperback-enthusiast who has not been personally affected by this problem, my biggest hope is simply for the industry to thrive as a whole, whatever that takes.

Throwback Thursday: Who Were the Greatest Innovators?

Following Steve Jobs’ recent death, the debate was sparked soon after about his rank among inventors in American lore. Free recently surveyed its Facebook followers on the matter, with some interesting results. The “odd facts” about Jobs and Nikola Tesla are likely the best part. (And if you visit the link above, be sure to read the somewhat profane, yet comically scathing rebuke of Thomas Edison):

We got hundreds of responses and found an interesting difference between the men and the women. The overwhelming majority of male respondents (81%) said engineer, physicist and futurist Nikola Tesla was the greatest innovator of the last 100 years (maybe our male Facebook followers are fans of The Oatmeal?). Facebook follower Jason Carter notes, “He IS the father of the information and the industrial age.” R. Keith Hunter responded, “Without him, we would not be technologically where we are today.”

Female respondents gave Apple guru Steve Jobs a slight edge, with 55% of women saying he was the greatest innovator. Barbara Spitznogle explained her vote, “He changed our world with his brilliant ideas and he applied them to our daily lives.”

Inventor Thomas Edison and Microsoft’s Bill Gates tied for third place among all respondents, while automotive pioneer Henry Ford was a solid fourth.

Here’s a bit more about the top two greatest innovators of the last 100 years, as decided by voters on the American Free Enterprise Facebook page.

Nikola Tesla

Tesla was born the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest in Smiljan, Croatia. He credited his innovative quest to his mother, a homemaker who created appliances such as a mechanical eggbeater to help with the home and farm. He emigrated to the United States at 26 years old and worked for Thomas Edison, who eventually became Tesla’s rival.

The list of inventions that Tesla pioneered reads like the history of the 20th century: Radio, radar, the induction motor, the Tesla coil, alternating current dynamos, arc light systems, and electric vehicles were all conceived by Tesla. He also developed concepts such as the use of X-ray machines, telegeodynamics, robotics, and early computer-logic principles.

Fun Fact: Tesla held over 700 patents in 26 countries when he died in New York in 1943.

Odd Fact: Nikola Tesla claimed to have invented a death ray which he called teleforce in the 1930s and continued the claims up until his death

Steve Jobs

Jobs was born in San Francisco in 1955, and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Santa Clara, Calif.Jobs attended high school in Cupertino, Calif., the city where Apple is based. In 1972, he briefly attended Reed College in Portland, Ore., but dropped out after a semester. He returned to California in 1974 and landed a job with Atari, where he met his eventual business partner, Steve Wozniak. The two founded Apple in the 1970’s, ushering in the age of the personal computer with the introduction of the Apple II line in 1976. In 1985, amid a sales slump, Jobs lost a corporate power struggle with his board and left Apple. He went on to found NeXT and Pixar before returning to Apple to rescue it from near-bankruptcy.

Under his second tenure at Apple, Jobs spearheaded the introduction of the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and the iPad. He died from pancreatic cancer six weeks after stepping down from his duties at Apple in August 2011.

Fun Fact: Jobs held over 300 patents which were displayed in a Smithsonian exhibit in 2012.

Odd Fact: As a student, at Reed College, Jobs came to believe that if he ate only fruits he would eliminate all mucus and not need to shower anymore.

What’s Worse Than Losing Your iPad?

A typical person could name myriad things in life that would be worse than losing one’s iPad: Being forced to watch those super sad Sarah McLachlan abused animal commercials on a continuous loop. Dying in a fiery car crash. Being a chair in Clint Eastwood’s home, constantly having to deflect his criticism.

But a recent newsletter from Mobile Enterprise posts answers from users who were asked that very question. Their findings may surpise you:

iPad users would find accidentally destroying their device more painful than:

  • Getting in a minor car accident – 40%
  • Having a root canal – 32%
  • Breaking their nose – 16%
  • Getting fired from their job – 10%

Business travelers also say they’d rather forget the following items than forget their iPad:

  • Deodorant – 55%
  • Birth control – 50% (47% among females)
  • A change of clothes – 35%
  • To lock the front door – 22%
  • To turn off the oven – 17%

H/t to staffer Glenn Harkness.

Tallying Up the Tablet Numbers

The focus of a recent eMarketer article was on how more Americans are using their tablets to enhance their shopping experience. Most retailers, it noted, are falling short of providing consumers with the interactive aspects they are looking for.

I was more fascinated, however, by the tremendous growth in tablet usage. Check out some of these numbers:

  • Millions of tablet users: 13.0 in 2010; 33.7 in 2011; 69.6 in 2012 and a projected 133.5 by 2015
  • Percentage of the population using a tablet: 4.2% in 2010; 10.8% in 2011; 22% in 2012; and the projected 41% in 2015
  • Percentage of Internet users using a tablet: 5.8% in 2010; 14.5% in 2011; 29.1% in 2012; and the projected 51.9% in 2015

The eMarketer analysis:

In just over 12 months, tablet ownership has expanded beyond the early adopter set to include nearly all population groups. To reflect this rapid growth in tablet adoption and purchase intent over the past six months, eMarketer has raised its estimate for the number of tablet users in the U.S. The new forecast projects that the triple-digit growth seen in 2011 will carry through 2012, fueled primarily by the popularity of Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, as well as by an expanding selection of low-priced tablets.

U. of Evansville Student Finds Success with iPhone App

Indiana’s colleges and universities are constantly serving as hubs of innovation and pride for the state. Here’s a great story from the University of Evansville, as computer science major Jesse Squires’ iPaint uPaint finger painting app is gaining global attention.

“Touch-screen devices just beg to be scribbled on,” said Squires, a senior computer science major from Jeffersonville, Indiana. “People want to touch them and interact with them. It’s a childlike, mesmerizing thing.”

The App Store released Squires’ first app, iPaint uPaint, on January 11. It is available for 99 cents at the App Store; developers such as Squires receive 70 percent of revenue from sales of their apps. Just two weeks after launching, iPaint uPaint has been downloaded by iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users in 13 countries.

Squires developed the app as his final project in an iOS programming class, a new course taught by associate professor of computer science Don Roberts during the Fall 2011 semester.

“Since the iPhone and Android have been released, there has been a huge surge of developers for mobile devices,” Squires said. “The iOS programming class at UE taught me the skills I needed to become a successful developer — while still in school.”

Creating iPaint uPaint took nearly two months. “There were some days and nights of pretty intense programming,” Squires recalled. “I remember one day when I started working at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 7:00 the next morning.”

The result of Squires’ efforts is an app that allows users to create virtual masterpieces on the screen of their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. What differentiates iPaint uPaint from other finger-painting apps, says Squires, is the ability to connect with friends’ devices via Bluetooth and paint together.

Users can change the color of the background and brush, as well as the transparency and thickness. iPaint uPaint also features a “shake and erase” function like an Etch-a-Sketch. Users can share their finished paintings via Twitter, e-mail them to a friend, or save them to a photo album.

Squires plans to continue developing apps and hopes to attend graduate school after graduating from UE in May. As for his final project in last semester’s programming course. “I got an A,” he said with a laugh. 

How Will We Watch TV in Several Years?

Gary Vaynerchuk is well-known on Twitter as a social media authority. He got his start as a wine expert (I believe), but snowballed his social media presence into some serious juggernautery (not a word, but I’m fine with it). In the above video, he offers his vision of how we’ll be watching television in a few years. Just thought it was interesting.

iPads: Save Money and Trees?

I admit it: I’m not the cool kid who is always first to get the latest electronic gadget. In fact, I like for the bugs to get worked out and to see if the invariable “next generation” is hot on its heels. Sometimes the latest is a big improvement; other times it mainly serves to drive the price down of the prior model that I will then give a try.

My temptation right now is the iPad. I know people who can’t leave home without theirs. And recently, one of my favorite radio stations, WZPL, started having iPad Thursdays where it gives them away periodically throughout the day.

But iPads are not just a personal or social item. You see more and more businesspeople bringing them to meetings or using them at their desk. In fact, the Fort Wayne City Council made the news today by announcing it was getting iPads to avoid the mountains of paper it reviews at each meeting, estimating it will save $10,000 annually on paper costs. You can’t beat that, right? Perhaps I should send a note to management here: iPads save money and trees! Wonder if it will work.

Business of Sports (Impact) at Work

Global workplace productivity is expected to suffer over the next month as the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament takes center stage. The U.S. impact won’t be as substantial. Despite the continued growth in youth soccer (my son wanted to take a personal day from camp to watch the South Africa-Mexico opener on Friday morning), the world’s most popular game has not attracted the same fanatical support here at home.

But the folks at Challenger, Gray & Christmas have put together a non-scientific ranking of the sporting events that likely do have the biggest effect on employees … and ultimately employers. No surprise to me at No. 1. I’m of the belief that a certain Thursday and Friday in March are really national holidays.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka, March Madness) – Widespread office tournament pools and the fact that about half of the first 32 games are played during work hours (and streamed live on CBS Sports March Madness on Demand) make this the granddaddy of productivity sappers. Proof of the event’s impact on productivity: the “Boss Button,” which instantly hides the webcast behind a fake spreadsheet, was hit 3.3 million times during the 2010 Tournament.
NFL Fantasy Football – Millions of fantasy football participants manage their teams from their office, whether it’s preparing for the fantasy draft or initiating a four-way trade.   

The Super Bowl – While the game is not played during traditional work hours, the impact on the workplace comes the following day, when many Super Bowl revelers find this particular Monday especially difficult to manage.  

World Cup Soccer – Some companies in Europe and South America may even shut down on the day of a big match.
College Football Bowl Season – Bowl games start in mid-December and many die-hard college football fans attempt to watch every game. Some of these games are played during the day, while others go late into the evening.  

Baseball Playoffs and World Series – Games are mostly played in the evening, but often stretch into the wee hours. Groggy fans, particularly in cities with playoff/World Series teams, may be less productive the day after these prolonged games.
NHL Playoffs/Stanley Cup Finals – Professional hockey playoffs last almost two months. For cities with teams playing, this can create considerable distractions. 
NBA Playoffs/Finals – Much like with baseball and hockey, productivity is mostly killed in cities with competing teams. The biggest threat comes from late night game-watching on work nights. 
The Olympics – While most people get their fill through prime-time coverage, faster Internet connections are making it possible to watch live streaming of events from one’s desk. 
Apple Product Announcements – While this technically is not a sporting event, these announcements feature almost as much pre-event hype and watercooler speculation about what will transpire, particularly among members of the IT staff. Most events, which occur in the middle of the workday, are covered via live blogging, so those who cannot wait for news reports after the fact are able to be among the first to learn about Apple’s latest creation or product update.