NEW YORK — New research from Porter Novelli/Cone claims that taking a stand is a key factor in driving a company's reputation.

The 2018 Purpose Premium Index finds that purpose drives 13% of companies’ reputations, making it the third largest factor contributing to consumer perception. Quality is by far the biggest driver, accounting for 65% of corporate reputation. Having vision is the second most important trait, contributing to 18% of company reputation.

However, purpose and reputation are more closely correlated than the numbers make it seem, the agency said, adding that purpose’s influence is great enough to tip public perception one way or the other.

Four companies — Amazon, UPS, Colgate-Palmolive and Alphabet — were named among the country’s top 10 purpose-driven companies, as well as the 10 with the best reputations, by the 6,000 US consumers who participated in the survey.

“As we’ve seen repeatedly in 2018, corporate reputation is painstakingly curated, carefully protected and easily lost. When it comes to reputation scores, every point up or down matters to the consumer and also affects long-term business performance and value,” says Justin Greeves, Porter Novelli’s executive VP, global research & services.

Amazon was ranked first in both categories. UPS and Community Health Systems followed Amazon on the list of the top purpose-driven companies; UPS and Intel were rated No. 2 and No. 3 in reputation.

Amazon being named the most purpose-driven company may raise eyebrwos, given that the ecommerce giant isn't tied to an explicit purpose in the way that companies like Patagonia and REI are.

Greeves said respondents selected Amazon primarily because they believe it cares about both their employees and their customers — so much so that customer service is considered by many a company mission. They also cited Amazon’s continued growth, leadership and innovation as reasons for the designation.

Amazon was also highly rated for operating responsibly (so that it protects and positively impacts society and the environment) and advocating for what it believes in.

That mirrors some of the other insights gleaned from the study.

When it comes to weighing purpose, consumers think most highly of companies that are responsible, caring, advocate for issues and protect the environment in that order, the research showed. And the more purpose a company has, the more consumers are likely to support them.