Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

Google and Apple's brand reputations have dropped. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com Inc. maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc. rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 US adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the “most visible” corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”
Meanwhile, Amazon.com held on to the No. 1 spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to No. 2. Gerzema attributed Amazon’s ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives into areas like groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from No. 9 to No. 3 on the strength of sending Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket — despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on earth, Gerzema said.
“He’s a modern-day carnival barker — it’s incredible,” Gerzema said of Musk. “This ‘The Right Stuff’ attitude is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism.”
For its part, Facebook Inc’s reputation improved in the 2018 study, despite being the target of questions from US lawmakers about the role of social media in Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook ranked 51st, its best showing since 2014 when it ranked 38th, the highest the firm ever ranked in the poll.
This year, film production company The Weinstein Co. made its debut at 99th out of 100 on the list after more than 70 women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Last place went to Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. , whose air bags can explode with too much force and have been linked to at least 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries, prompting the largest recall in automotive history and forcing Takata and its US unit, TK Holdings Inc, into bankruptcy.
1. Amazon.com 2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. 3. Tesla Motors 4. Chick-fil-A 5. The Walt Disney Co. 6. HEB Grocery Company LP 7. United Parcel Service Inc. 8. Publix Super Markets 9. Patagonia Inc. 10. Aldi Inc


Saudi Aramco boss reveals gas and LNG ambitions amid petchems push

Updated 22 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco boss reveals gas and LNG ambitions amid petchems push

  • Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser: We are in discussions in different countries with a lot of partners. We are reviewing these opportunities to make final decisions in terms of investment
  • Amin Nasser: A lot of it is in partnerships with leading companies around the world and it is either in gas investment, LNG investment or both

London: Saudi Aramco is eyeing gas and LNG acquisitions as it also prepares for the potential purchase of the Kingdom’s biggest chemical maker, CEO Amin Nasser revealed on Tuesday.

He made the disclosure in an interview with Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“We are in discussions in different countries currently with a lot of partners. We are reviewing these opportunities to make final decisions in terms of investment,” Nasser said.

“A lot of it is in partnerships with leading companies around the world and it is either in gas investment, LNG investment or both.”

Aramco has also been in discussions with a credit rating agency ahead of a planned bond sale.

It comes ahead of the potential purchase of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the Kingdom’s biggest chemical maker and a key part of Aramco’s ambitions to grow its global petrochemicals business.

“We will decide soon how much we would like to take from the bond market. Definitely it is going to be an international bond. We are currently in discussion with regard to how much and where,” Nasser said.

He said that the purchase price for SABIC was still under discussion.

“We are in discussion currently with the Public Investment Fund about acquisition of 70 percent of the share of SABIC. We are in discussion with regard to the price at this stage,” he said.

Earlier this month Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Aramco would issue bonds in the second quarter of 2019.

Aramco’s planned acquisition of SABIC is expected to involve buying all or nearly all of the 70 percent stake in the chemicals company held by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom’s principal sovereign wealth fund.

Nasser said that there was no plan to acquire the 30 percent of the company that is currently publicly traded in Saudi Arabia.