Apple is virtually “Teflon” in public reputation in the US, at least in the context of recent “diverted taxes” revelations, and especially compared to last year’s GE “zero tax bill” scandal.
Apple’s consumer reputation has barely budged since the Sunday April 29th New York Times story revealing that the company avoids paying taxes in its home state of California and 20 other states.
On the other hand, when the same newspaper revealed GE reaped $14.2 billion in worldwide profits in 2010, yet paid zero taxes in the U.S. and claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, the reaction was more pronounced and longer: the company’s reputation took a steep drop and two months to recover to pre-crisis levels.
Apple and GE were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Reputation score, which asks respondents: "Would you be proud or embarrassed to work for this brand?"
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Apple’s reputation score actually went up modestly from 52 to 58 a few days after the New York Times story broke on April 29, 2012. Its current score is 51, only slightly below where it was when their tax strategy was revealed.
GE was punished more severely by U.S. consumers: its reputation was 33 on March 24, 2011, when the New York Times published its tax exposé. One day later, it was down to 23 and in one week’s time, they had a 14 score. As stated earlier, it took two months for GE to get back to a 33 reputation score.