Samsung’s reputation has taken a battering over the last year.
Its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was a disaster of unprecedented proportions — the premium device wouldn’t stop exploding, forcing Samsung to issue a global recall that cost it $US5 billion (£4 billion) in losses and lost sales.
And now it’s seeing the consequences with consumers.
Every year, Harris Poll ranks the reputation of the 100 most visible companies in the US — and this year, Samsung has dropped dramatically. In 2016, it was ranked seventh; today, it has dropped to 49th. (In 2015, it was ranked third.)
By any measure, the Note 7 has been a catastrophe for Samsung. Faulty batteries led to dozens of the devices malfunctioning, and even a recall and supposed fix couldn’t solve the problem, leading the company to discontinue the device entirely.
Historically known for its premium, iPhone-rivalling Android phones, its exploding handsets have instead become the frequent butt of jokes after they hospitalised at least one person, and airlines issue constant warnings against using them on planes. It’s clearly not a brand association that any company wants.
Interestingly, Samsung’s profits have shot up despite the Note 7 fiasco. Its chips business is soaring, pushing the company’s fourth-quarter operating profit up 50% year-on-year.
But a new headache has since emerged for the company — one that could damage its reputation further. South Korea is being rocked by a huge presidential influence-peddling scandal, and Samsung, the country’s biggest company, has been pulled in. Samsung leader Jay Y. Lee has been arrested on charges of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury. (He has denied any wrongdoing.)
Samsung did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, Amazon was ranked number one in Harris Poll’s ranking — a position unchanged from 2016. In second place is Wegrams, followed by Publix Super Markets then Johnson & Johnson, with Apple rounding out the top five.