The unprecedented events of the past year tested fashion brands’ values and resilience, and consumers were paying attention to the way they navigated all of the challenges. According to a new report from RepTrak, a solution that ranks global companies’ reputations among consumers, denim stalwart Levi Strauss & Co. came out on top.
The 2021 Global RepTrak 100 ranked the company No. 14 out of 100, with a score of 76.6. For context, the No. 1 spot was filled by The Lego Group, with an “excellent” score of 80.4.
Each year, the solution measures and produces a report according to millions of data points surrounding a company’s products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and financial performance—categories that RepTrak considers the seven key drivers of reputation. According to the company, this year’s report is especially noteworthy, as it “represents the first comprehensive, post-pandemic study that evaluates the impact of unprecedented global events on company reputation and brand promises.”
RepTrak analyzed reputation data for more than 2,000 companies, all with a global revenue above $2 billion. Ranking for the 2021 report was based on 68,577 respondents collected globally across the 15 largest economies through online surveys. Other high-ranking companies include Rolex (2), Ferrari (3), The Bosch Group (4) and Harley-Davidson (5).
Like most companies, Levi’s sales took a dip in Q2 during the peak of the pandemic’s repercussions. However, it was able to recover faster than expected in Q3, and is on track to emerge from the pandemic stronger and more sustainable.
Its success is partially due to the pre-pandemic investments it made in omnichannel innovations and agile planning. When retail stores were forced to shut down in 2020, the company immediately refashioned its stores into mini distribution centers so it could ship from its stores. Levi’s also pivoted to looser fits to suit consumer demand for comfort, expanding its partnership with accessible retailers like Target and launched Levi’s SecondHand, its first buy-back program allowing customers to purchase pre-owned denim on the Levi’s website.
The company’s response to the year’s mounting racial tensions was also likely a key factor in its high ranking. LS&Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, while the company made sizable donations to relevant organizations. The movement also led LS&Co. to deeply investigate its own diversity challenges, ultimately appointing Elizabeth A. Morrison as chief diversity, inclusion and belonging officer.
The brand continued this support with focused collections celebrating Black figures. In honor of Black History Month, Levi’s collaborated with artist, designer and political organizer Fresco Steez on a collection of 10 graphics that pay homage to Black political movements throughout history and those who led the charge. Even more recently, the company has demonstrated its allyship to the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community in light of increased discrimination and violence against the group. Levi’s has connected employees with stress management resources and is supporting organizations such as the Chinese for Affirmative Action and Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.
Other designer and apparel companies on the list include Adidas, Nike, Chanel, Under Armour, Giorgio Armani, LVMH Group, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Prada, Hermes and Ralph Lauren Corporation.