February 13th, 2013 by Kelly Liyakasa

Creating an emotional connection with customers can drive loyalty, many argue. Although reaching a psychological connection with shoppers in-store through design, music, and merchandising strategies seems a natural fit, it appears that e-commerce can create the same appeal, if not more.

a.com_logo_RGBAccording to market research firm Harris Interactive, Amazon.com ranks higher than any other company – even Apple – in the dimension of emotional appeal. In its 2013 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, a proprietary survey of 19,000 members of the American public, the firm found that Amazon achieved the highest ranking for Products and Services, and came close to 100 percent in positive ratings for Trust. Amazon has a reputation for building “an intimate relationship with the public without being perceived as intrusive,” according to Robert Fronk, executive vice president of reputation management at Harris Interactive.

Amazon’s winning overall for “Most Reputable Company” pushed last year’s winner, Apple, to second place, with The Walt Disney Co., Google, and Johnson & Johnson rounding out the leaders of the pack. Three of the leaders are technology-related companies, which Harris reported as the highest rated industry in terms of reputation. Reason being, companies that “Play A Valuable Social Role” in changing or transforming other businesses, are perceived as having stronger reputations.

Even though Amazon won big both for Emotional Appeal and Products and Services, Whole Foods takes the cake for Social Responsibility; Apple was the leader in Financial Performance and Vision & Leadership, and Google stole top spot for the strongest reputation for its Workplace Environment. Though you may ask yourself, “What bearing does a company’s financial performance and the fact that they offer paid naps and green office space to its employees, have on my decision to purchase?” there is apparently a pretty strong tie.

Harris Interactive found that 60 percent of the time, people won’t give a company their business based on what they learn about a company’s conduct, which makes one thing clear – if a customer can’t emotionally connect with what you’re doing as a company or conversely, if a company practice disenfranchises your audience, it can have a direct effect on whether they go with you or your competitor.

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