LONDON — Edelman is back on top as the most admired PR agency among leading in-house communications and brand marketing leaders, according to the third tranche of PRovoke’s Influence 100 research for 2020.

Last year, after a six-year run, Edelman’s place in the top spot was usurped by Weber Shandwick when respondents were asked which firm they most admired. Weber Shandwick was again this year the second-most-cited agency, and others with repeated mentions were strategic and corporate comms heavyweights Finsbury Glover Hering, Brunswick and Teneo, as well as WE Communications.

Asked to name the companies they think have best managed their brand communications and corporate reputation over the past year, two stood out for our influencers: Microsoft (a perennial name on the list) and Walmart, whose reputation has been turned around by CEO Doug McMillon, the new chair of the Business Roundtable.

The list of nominees also included Apple, Google, Starbucks, Mars, Patagonia, Nike, J&J, AirBnB, Peloton, SpaceX, Netflix and Blackrock.

We also asked, for the first time, which company has managed its reputation least effectively over the past year and the result was unequivocal: at least half of those who responded said Facebook.

There was a long list of nominees for best communicator among world leaders this year, but for the second year running – well ahead of anyone else in terms of mentions – the top spot went to New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, thanks to her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not surprisingly, the best communicator list was dominated by leaders who have handled the pandemic well. The second most-mentioned world leader was another woman who has communicated with typical clarity throughout lockdown: Germany’s Angela Merkel.

The list of the worst communicators among the world’s leaders was much shorter: US president Donald Trump again stole the show in terms of mentions, appearing far more often than anyone else.

More details of the Influence 100's best and worst communicators and reputations, and most admired PR agencies, can be found here

Full Influence 100 coverage, including all 100 profiles, Q&As and research insights here.