amazonThe 14th Annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, a study regarding national brand reputations, was released this month. Harris Interactive, a market research firm, interviewed more than 14,000 consumers about brand visibility and then had respondents rate the 60 most visible companies in six areas: social responsibility, emotional appeal, financial performance, products and services, vision and leadership, and workplace environment.

For 2013, Amazon was chosen as the most reputable brand in America, pushing last year’s winner, Apple, to spot number two. Rounding out the top ten were: The Walt Disney Company, Google, Johnson & Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company, Whole Foods Market, Sony, Procter & Gamble Co. and Costco.

Of the top ten companies, only six were awarded a “great” score (above 80). Last year’s list had eight “great” companies, and there were 16 “great” companies in 2011. Although some companies did see improved scores, there was also a drastic drop in corporate America’s overall reputation. Our view of corporations fell to the levels present in 2008, at the beginning of The Great Recession, a situation Harris Interactive called “relatively grim.”

The bottom 10 spots were dominated by companies in the financial industry with AIG and Goldman Sachs being the only two companies that scored less than a 50. The other eight lowest companies were (in descending order) Halliburton, American Airlines, Bank of America, Citigroup, BP, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Comcast.

So what makes us find a brand reputable? This year, the most important factors were playing a valuable social role, being a good company to work for, and having a good feeling about the company. People also regarded admiration, respect and trust to be important aspects of a company’s reputation.

With these factors in mind, start thinking about what your company can do to improve its image. Maybe you should be focusing on establishing a connection with philanthropic achievements. Maybe you need to improve your organizational culture. Maybe you should be communicating with your consumers more directly through social media. Learn from America’s six “great” corporations and strive to see your name climbing up that list.

See the full results of the study here.