Air New Zealand has beaten its Aussie rivals to have the best corporate reputation on both sides of the Tasman.
The latest corporate reputation index from market researchers AMR placed Air New Zealand at the top of the NZ list for the second year in a row and the fourth time since 2011. The NZ national carrier also topped the table in Australia, where rival Qantas was ranked in fifth place.
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was thrilled to have moved from sixth place in Australia in 2016 to this year head off carriers Qantas and Virgin Australia, as well as other big corporates such as Toyota, Apple Australia, Myer and Woolworths.
"These results are a testament to all the hard work of Air New Zealand's staff who over the past decade have helped build an enviable reputation for the airline globally by delivering our uniquely Kiwi award-winning experience," Luxon said.
"Despite being a relatively small airline in global terms, Air New Zealand continues to punch above its weight by taking great ideas and turning these into world leading product and service offerings that enhance the customer experience," he said. "It's clear Australians love the Air New Zealand product and service and we're thrilled to be held in such high regard on both sides of the Tasman."
AMR managing director Oliver Freedman said it appeared that Air New Zealand currently had no weak spots in its reputation.
"It rates in the excellent category across the board which shows it has found a way to engage with New Zealand consumers, but also get a clear and consistent message out there through its marketing activities," Freedman said.
The index, compiled in conjunction with global advisory firm the Reputation Institute, canvassed the views of nearly 2000 Kiwis in an online survey late last month.
Although it didn't manage to oust Air New Zealand from the top of the NZ index, Toyota maintained its second place and has dominated either the number one or two spot since 2013.
While there wasn't much change at the top, fortunes changed significantly for some of the companies in the index.
Fletcher Building was among those which fell the most, slipping six places from 16 to 22.
The NZX-listed firm said on March 20 that operating earnings for the year to June may be more than $100m below earlier forecasts.
Its share price tumbled on the back of the news and has yet to recover to pre-downgrade levels. The announcement of the downgrade was the same day that AMR began its survey for this year's index.
AMR's Freedman told the Herald that financial performance was the area of the survey in which Fletcher Building had dropped the most from last year.
Freedman said the perceptions of the company's ability to change and innovate had also slipped. It was quite possible, however, that if the company turned around financially that its reputation would recover next year.
Fletcher Building did not respond to a request for comment.
Vodafone's fall from nine to 17 was the biggest drop this year.
Freedman said Vodafone's position was more about others in the survey improving rather than a decline in the telco's performance.
"It's less about them and more about the market," he said.
Vodafone did not respond to a request for comment.
ANZ jumped the most in the index - 7 places to sit at 7.
ANZ's New Zealand chief executive David Hisco said the move was a tribute to the bank's 8000 staff. "ANZ New Zealand has a strong culture of giving back in many community and charitable fundraising activities and we're all proud of that. The result shows we're moving in the right direction although we know there's always more that we can do for our customers," Hisco said.
ASB also rose through the ranks to take out the number three spot, and its chief executive Barbara Chapman said all staff at the bank would be proud of the result.
"Trust and reputation are very important to us so it's a huge honour, and great recognition for our team, to have our corporate reputation ranked among the very best in New Zealand," she said.
Freedman said it was the first time a bank had placed so highly.
"The top four and five in New Zealand it's really quite diverse - you've got an airline, you've got a car company, a bank, a retailer, and [kiwifruit marketer] Zespri ... that's five very different industries covered there," Freedman said.
Dairy company Fonterra edged up two spots to place at 21 in the index.
"It was interesting to me that while the rank hasn't increased that much, the overall score [in the survey] for Fonterra improved quite substantially this time around. I think we were in the field when they came out [with] quite strong financial results," Freedman said.
Fonterra was well placed to build on that reputation gain, he said.
Fonterra's managing director corporate affairs Mike Cronin said the results supported the findings of the company's own research showing a significant improvement of its reputation within New Zealand.
"Our reputation is important to our staff and farmers, so we've put significant effort into helping our farmers tell the story of their co-op," Cronin said.