Samsung’s reputation has taken a nosedive in the latest survey conducted by Harris Poll, largely due to the Galaxy Note 7 disaster. In 2015, the Korean electronics giant was ranked third in Harris Poll’s US Reputation Quotient report. It slipped to the seventh spot in 2016. In Harris Poll’s 2017 ranking of the 100 most visible corporations in the US, Samsung nosedived to 49th place, sitting right above the US Postal Service.
Samsung falls from 7th to 49th place
Apple was ranked 5th, Google 8th, and Tesla 9th in the list topped by Amazon.com. Harris Poll said “product safety challenges” tarnished Samsung’s reputation, at least in the United States. The report added that “product fraud” and “corporate malfeasance” are considered biggest risks to a company’s reputation. With the botched and poorly communicated Galaxy Note 7 recall and corruption allegations against its CEO, Samsung’s ranking could have fallen more than it did.
Harris Poll surveyed 30,519 US adults between Nov.28 and Dec.16, 2016 to rank corporations in areas like workplace environment, products and services, vision and leadership, financial performance, emotional appeal, and social responsibility. Samsung’s reputation seems to have been hurt due to its poor performance in products and services category.
Galaxy Note 7 recall was a PR disaster
Samsung withdrew the Galaxy Note 7 soon after its launch when hundreds of users started reporting about the phones bursting into flames. The company re-launched supposedly safe Note 7 phones that too were found to be equally vulnerable to exploding. Eventually, Samsung killed the phablet. The company found in its internal investigation that the explosions were caused by faulty batteries.
The Galaxy Note 7 debacle is estimated to have cost Samsung upward of $5 billion. It was a PR nightmare for Samsung. Photos and videos of Note 7s bursting into flames were all over the Internet. Dozens of airlines from around the world had banned the use of Note 7 in-flight. Samsung had to set shops at major airports to allow users to exchange their faulty Galaxy Note 7 units before boarding the plane.
Will Samsung be able to regain consumers’ trust?
Though Harris Poll had a large sample size of more than 30,000 respondents, its findings contradict an earlier poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. Reuters found in its survey that the Note 7 recall didn’t damage Samsung’s reputation in the US as consumers were willing to give the company another chance. However, the Reuters/Ipsos survey was conducted only among Samsung and Apple smartphone users, and before Samsung’s CEO was arrested. It was more about whether they would purchase a Samsung product again, rather than a question about reputation.
A large number of Samsung users are still wary of buying another device from the brand. The company has beefed up quality control and safety procedures to avoid another Galaxy Note 7-like nightmare. Samsung hopes to regain consumer trust with its upcoming Galaxy S8.