Every year Fortune magazine asks businesspeople to vote for a company they admire the most, from any industry.
The results are then compiled into a list, which many take as a definitive guide on corporate reputations.
Companies are rated in several key areas, including innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, quality of products and services and global competitiveness.
Read on to discover the top five, and what makes them so highly regarded.
Apple has landed the number one spot on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Admired Companies list for six years in a row.
The IT giant might have had a tough time lately – what with speculation over weak earnings – but that’s not something that’s reflected in the opinions of its peers or fanatical customer base.
Although the company may have lost the Mac/PC wars to Microsoft during the early stages of its business, by reinventing itself and concentrating on its i range of products, it is now the ubiquitous leader of smartphones and computers for creatives.
A mantra of Apple’s, which undoubtedly helps it to stand head and shoulder above the competition, is that its engineers and designers have to make products that they would like to use themselves.
All of Apple’s products have come into being based on the fact that Steve Jobs was the company’s key customer and his engineers had to come to grips with that when they were fine tuning products and designs.
Google came a close second on the list thanks to its commitment to experience and always putting the user first.
As its website says: “Whether we’re designing a new internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”
And rather than being an omnipresent force, it concentrates on doing one thing really well and working out how they can do it even better.
What’s more, like with any good company, Google is at the heart of innovation – forever adapting its service to make it better and more user-friendly.
A company motto is “great just isn’t good enough”, meaning you can count on the search engine to keep on grinding away for perfection.
Amazon is nothing if not systematic and deliberate in everything that it does – an unconventional business model if you will.
Unlike other big companies out there, Amazon didn’t come to power by inventing a new product or service, it came to power by taking down an entire industry and to do so, it required strategy, not technical wizardry or cutting edge design.
The company’s vision is to be “earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”.
Understanding Amazon’s reach is like trying to fathom space, but put simply, Amazon’s $34 billion (£21.9 billion) annual revenues are larger than the GDPs of half the countries in the world.
Coca-Cola has made steady progress in Fortune’s list, climbing 20 spots between 2007 and now, thanks to its ever-expanding portfolio of products. And given the drink company’s long history, the likelihood of it remaining in the definitive list is pretty much guaranteed.
One of the reasons why Coca-Cola is so successful is because it has reinvented its brand many times over its 127-year history through careful and systematic strategies.
And that is one of the key concepts of the company’s mission statement – to “refresh the world in mind, body and spirit”.
In order to continue to thrive in the way it has, Coca-Cola understands that the world around us is changing. By watching and analysing the shifts, the company is able to prepare, meaning it knows where it will be in the next ten year’s time and beyond.
Starbucks’ plans for sustained growth and global expansion has helped it to get inside Fortune’s top five most admired company list.
The coffee company has grown from 15 stores and 100 employees in 1987 to more than 6,200 stores in 30 countries serving more than 22 million customers worldwide each week.
And how has it achieved all this, you ask? By following six guiding principles relating to respect, dignity, quality, customer satisfaction and contributing positively to communities and environments.
Orin Smith, Starbucks president and CEO, said about the accolade: “We continue to believe that success comes not only by serving the highest quality coffees in the world, but by creating a wonderful work environment, which is essential if our people are expected to create an inviting atmosphere for our customers.”