Fortune magazine this week released its annual listing of the 50 world's most admired companies, according to a survey of 3,920 business executives from 30 countries.
It is, arguably, the Academy Awards of the corporate world, not least insofar as the results reflect the opinions of industry insiders and may be at odds with the consensus view of consumers.
The top-10 most-admired companies, regardless of industry affiliation:
- Berkshire Hathaway
- Walt Disney
- Southwest Airlines
- General Electric
In what might loosely be considered the travel category—companies of special interest to frequent travelers—Disney was ranked seventh, Southwest was ninth, American Express was eleventh, Singapore Airlines was eighteenth, JP Morgan Chase was thirtieth, Marriott was thirty-ninth, and Delta was forty-eighth.
Eliciting the admiration of corporate titans, who tend to fixate on operational and financial success, isn't the same as winning the hearts and minds of customers.
Some of the highest-rated companies certainly have reputations for great products and top-notch customer service. But some have less-than-stellar relationships with their customers. And others may be resting on laurels from long ago.
Southwest and Delta, for instance, were for many years lauded for their intense customer focus. But although the recent shift to a more profit-oriented ethos has endeared them to investors, it's also undermined both companies' relationships with their traditional customer bases.
Reader Reality Check
How do Fortune's results square up with your own opinions?
Which travel companies do you admire most?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.