The company represents the Reputation Institute in South Africa, and the survey which measures corporate reputation on an annual basis, was released on Wednesday.

Woolworths CEO Zyda Rylands said: “We work hard at addressing the issues that our customers care about and we strive to be a leader in making a broader contribution to South Africa. We would like to thank our Woolies Team, customers, suppliers and partners for their contribution to this achievement.” 

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The survey looked at 50 companies, with the focus moving away from JSE-listed organisations to those the public is more familiar with.

“This year’s study focused on eight industries,researching companies on the basis of at least 50% familiarity with the general public. True to the importance of context in measuring corporate reputation, the key priority of the study has evolved towards providing credible data for corporations and other stakeholders to conduct industry analysis and benchmarking of companies amongst their peers,” the Reputation Institute said in a statement.

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The top 10 companies were Clover, Coca-Cola, Woolworths, the Spar Group, Massmart (Makro/Game/Dion), Pick n Pay, First National Bank, Nestlé, Sanlam and Old Mutual.

“There are significant differences in industry reputations. It seems much easier to have a good reputation in the retail or FMCG sector while telecommunication and state-owned enterprise find it difficult to build emotional bond with people. It is therefore critical that companies assess their reputation in the context of their industry rather than focusing solely on the overall ranking” said Dr Dominik Heil, Chairman of Reputation House.