The 50 most powerful companies in America
Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Power comes in many forms, but it boils down to having influence: over people, resources, and the global conversation.
Major corporations often wield more power than individuals, so we decided to break down which ones command the most.
To determine how powerful each company is, we factored together fiscal 2014 revenue, number of employees, press mentions on Google News over the past year, and social media influence, as ranked on a scale of 1 to 100 by Klout, a site that analyzes social-media influence of companies and individuals across all platforms.
You can read our full methodology here.
Walmart, with its army of workers and massive sales, ranks as the most powerful company in America. It’s followed by competitor Target (No. 2) and General Electric (No. 3).
Scroll down to see the full list.
2014 revenue: $54.1 billion
Number of employees: 48,000
More than just providing life insurance, Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential helps clients save for retirement and manage their money at every stage of life. Fortune predicts that good things are ahead for the insurance company, noting that “the aging of the wealthy world will increase demand for insurance products.”
Despite its 63,000 Twitter followers and 338,706 likes on Facebook, no Klout score is available for Prudential.
49. Procter and Gamble
2014 revenue: $83 billion
Number of employees: 118,000
P&G dropped nearly 100 of its brands in 2014 to streamline the company and focus on its biggest profit-makers.
According to Fortune, which ranks the Cincinnati-based company as the 17th most admired company in the world, P&G is the global leader in consumer goods with an unparalleled production scale and international reach.
With a slimmer brand portfolio, P&G reported 5% lower sales in fiscal 2015. The company isn’t engaging on social media, earning it a low Klout score of 68 out of 100.
2014 revenue: N/A
Number of employees: ~2,000
Uber is changing the way we think about transportation, and despite numerous controversies and setbacks, it continues to grow.
Even though Uber doesn’t release revenue data, the Silicon Valley-based ride-hailing service raised close to $1 billion in July, valuing it at $50 billion. Not to mention, it has a Klout score of 85.
Plus, with phrases like “it’s the Uber of [insert activity here]” permeating our vernacular, it’s impossible to deny the company’s influence.
2014 revenue: $4.98 billion
Number of employees: 12,500
California-based Yahoo generated more than $1 billion in new revenue in 2014 through its mobile, video, native, and social channels (aka Mavens). Yahoo now reaches 575 million mobile users, one of the largest mobile audiences globally.
Furthering its scope, Yahoo entered a partnership with Mozilla in late 2014 to use Yahoo.com as the default browser for Firefox in the US. According to analytics site Alexa.com, Yahoo is the fifth most popular site in the world, and has a Klout score of 98 — unsurprising for an internet giant.
46. Time Warner
2014 revenue: $27.4 billion
Number of employees: 25,600
Time Warner, which operates out of New York City, controls a significant portion of the media and entertainment industry, with several major television networks, including HBO, CNN, and TNT, under its command. It’s also the second-largest cable provider in the US, operating in 29 states.
As far as social media influence, Time Warner lags behind other big companies, clocking in with a 73 Klout score.
45. Cisco Systems
2014 revenue: $47.1 billion
Number of employees: 74,042
After a difficult fiscal 2014, Cisco Systems is expected to come back strong with a new CEO at the helm who’s already fixing some costly mistakes. The worldwide leader in IT is expected to continue growing its emerging cloud services and security business.
The Silicon Valley company has a Klout score of 92, expectedly high considering much of the world’s internet traffic runs through Cisco Systems.
44. Lockheed Martin
2014 revenue: $45.6 billion
Number of employees: 112,000
Security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin builds everything from military aircraft and radar to cybersecurity systems and missiles.
In short, the Owego, New York-based company supplies our defenses and keeps them strong. And since it doesn’t look like the military is going defunct anytime soon, the defense industry will remain in high supply.
The company also has a respectable Klout score of 89, with 200,000 Twitter followers to boot.
43. JPMorgan Chase
2014 revenue: $94.2 billion
Number of employees: 240,000
The nation’s largest bank announced that it will close 300 bank branches by 2017 as more customers rely on mobile and online banking. The closures are part of a $1.4 billion cost-cutting plan put in place earlier this year by the Midtown Manhattan-based finance giant.
With the lowest social media influence among the Big Four banks, JPMorgan Chase has a Klout score of 68 out of 100, although the bank does command over 171,000 followers on Twitter.
42. CVS Health
2014 revenue: $139.38 billion
Number of employees: 200,000
More people than ever pick CVS as their go-to spot for filling prescriptions, making it the biggest retailer of prescription drugs in the US.
And that number is only growing — CVS, located in Rhode Island, will purchase Target’s pharmacy and clinics businesses for about $1.9 billion, adding almost 2,000 pharmacies to its fleet. CVS’s focus on health also opens it up to partnerships with other powerful companies, including a new plan to work with IBM’s supercomputer Watson to find solutions for customers with chronic health issues.
Social media isn’t CVS’s strong suit, however. It has a low Klout score of 64, and only a little over a million fans on Facebook — small potatoes compared to corporations that pull in tens of millions of Facebook likes.
2014 revenue: $17.9 billion
Number of employees: 34,600
In 2014, the California-based e-commerce giant announced it would be splitting eBay and PayPal into two companies. EBay still runs Skype and StubHub, but PayPal has been its principal source of growth since the company was bought by eBay in 2002.
Still, eBay, now in its 20th year of operation, has a huge command over online shoppers spanning 203 markets worldwide. It’s powerful online, as well: The company has a Klout score of 94.
40. Goldman Sachs
2014 revenue: $34.53 billion
Number of employees: 34,000
On Wall Street, few names inspire as much respect as Goldman Sachs. And the investment banking firm is on the rise — it grew profits 5% last year and recently garnered attention for backing Symphony, a secure internal chat system that has been called a “Bloomberg killer.”
Goldman also proves its social media influence with over 400,000 followers on Twitter and more than 30,000 likes on Facebook, earning the New York-based bank a Klout score of 89.
2014 revenue: $12.7 billion
Number of employees: 10,955
The pioneer of social media is now the top social commerce platform, driving more than two-thirds of mobile e-commerce traffic. Thanks to ads on the site, revenue was up 58% in 2014 for the Silicon Valley company.
This summer, Facebook’s market value topped $250 billion, making it the fastest company to reach that high so quickly.
Ultimately, Facebook has incredible influence. In August, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook in a single day. Unsurprisingly, the social media giant has a high Klout score of 98.
2014 revenue: $200.5 billion
Number of employees: 61,546
The second-largest oil company in the US, Chevron continued to grow its reach last year, with successful explorations in Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, and Canada.
But despite slipping oil prices and revenue loss, Chevron hasn’t lost its footing yet, and is cutting spending through 2017 so it can dive headfirst into growth. The San Ramon, California-based company has a modest influence online, earning a mid-range Klout score of 87.
37. Morgan Stanley
2014 revenue: $34.3 billion
Number of employees: 55,795
Morgan Stanley’s strong investment relationships with tech companies has given it a foothold in Silicon Valley. In fact, the Manhattan-based bank has worked with Netflix since 2011.
Morgan Stanley “helped write the financial script” for the streaming service, offering notes totaling nearly $2 billion between 2014 and 2015.
When it comes to social media influence, Morgan Stanley lands in the middle of the road with a Klout score of 87.
2014 revenue: $110.2 billion
Number of employees: 195,000
Wholesale-discount-superstore Costco consistently outperforms competitors Walmart and Target due to its concentration on driving sales.
While other stores split their focus between marketing, sales, and more, Costco keeps its eye on the prize — to the tune of more than $100 billion in revenue last year.
And more than just home goods and food, Costco is also a growing force in car sales, likely due to its fixed prices.
But despite its over 1.2 million Facebook fans, no Klout score is available for the Issaquah, Washington-based company.
2014 revenue: $16.4 billion
Number of employees: 191,000
Starbucks, the fifth most admired brand in the world, according to Fortune, is more pervasive than ever. With 22,000 retail stores in 66 countries, the Seattle-based coffee retailer spent most of 2014 dedicated to going green and launching plans to send its employees to college and hire more of America’s military families and veterans.
Some of its stores are also rolling out beer, wine, and gourmet food options. Starbucks has a Klout score of 84 and nearly 10 million followers on Twitter.
34. United Technologies
2014 revenue: $65.1 billion
Number of employees: 211,000
You might not immediately recognize the name United Technologies, but the Hartford, Connecticut-based corporation is responsible for building several things you use daily, including Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioning.
The company also manufactures planes and helicopters, and was named one of the most respected companies in the world by Barron’s.
But it isn’t as social-media-forward as some of our other list contenders, with a Klout score of 59. Considering that the brand only has about 20,000 followers on Twitter, however, this is expected.
33. Bank of America
2014 revenue: $85.1 billion
Number of employees: 220,000
One of America’s Big Four banks, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America has carved out its place not only in commercial banking, but in wealth management.
In 2008, Bank of America merged with Merrill Lynch, forming the world’s largest wealth-management company by assets. Bank of America launched its Preferred Rewards program in 2014 in an aim to improve customer satisfaction.
The bank has a Klout score of 90, higher than any of its competitors.
2014 revenue: $27.7 billion
Number of employees: 56,500
Athletic gear is becoming a mainstream clothing staple — whether you actually work out or not — and no one does it better than Nike. The apparel company, headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, is predicted to outperform the industry for the next five years, Business Insider reported earlier this year.
Nike’s also popular with millennials and scores a 92 on Klout, proving its social media know-how. The brand boasts over 5 million Twitter followers and more than 22 million Facebook fans.
2014 revenue: $73.9 billion
Number of employees: 51,500
Formerly known as WellPoint Inc., the company changed its corporate name to Anthem last year.
Despite a late 2014 data breach, the largest for-profit health insurance company in the nation has continued to grow, even purchasing Cigna in a $54 billion deal, in a wave of consolidation in the healthcare industry.
The deal will make Anthem, which operates out of Indianapolis, Indiana, the nation’s largest health insurer by enrollment as early as next year. A Klout score is unavailable for Anthem.
2014 revenue: $76.9 billion
Number of employees: 237,000
Citigroup, best known for its consumer banking services, continues to grow its physical and digital presences.
In fact, the New York City-based bank reported a 50% increase in mobile users last year, and reaches worldwide with banks across the globe in North America, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
Citigroup’s not quite as prominent on social media as some of our other companies, but it still holds strong with a 79 on Klout.
2014 revenue: $45.6 billion
Number of employees: 246,000
Along with a rise in e-commerce comes a rise in demand for delivery services. This year, FedEx spent nearly $10 billion to purchase 50 Boeing airliners to accommodate its freight delivery expansion in Europe.
Despite FedEx’s low Klout score of 72, the Memphis-based mailer appears at No. 12 on Fortune’s most admired companies list.
28. American Express
2014 revenue: $34.3 billion
Number of employees: 53,500
Between slowing sales and the expiration of its exclusive deal with Costco, it was a tough year for American Express. But the credit-card company still remains profitable, proving that powerful companies can take a hit and still bounce back.
On the social media front, New York City-based Amex still commands a strong presence with over 5 million Facebook fans, 841,000 Twitter followers, and a Klout score of 89.
2014 revenue: $108.56 billion
Number of employees: 400,000
Kroger is the largest supermarket chain by revenue in America. It also operates under nearly two dozen banners, including jewelry stores and convenience stores.
While the Cincinnati-based retailer has low social-media influence with a Klout score of 80, Kroger is beloved around the country for its top-notch customer service and loyalty program.
Now that Kroger is offering natural and organic food options, it’s set to surpass its high-end rivals.
26. Exxon Mobil
2014 revenue: $411.9 billion
Number of employees: 75,300
Even with the steady downturn in the price of oil recently, Irving, Texas-based Exxon remains a major player in the industry, pulling in a whopping $400 billion in revenue last year alone. Despite recent controversies including acid leaks and contamination from industrial sites, Exxon undoubtedly has the money and influence to power through.
The company is fairly compelling on social media as well, earning a Klout score of 87, despite commanding fewer than 200,000 followers.
25. Wells Fargo
2014 revenue: $84.34 billion
Number of employees: 265,800
The largest bank in America by market capitalization was also named the most valuable bank brand in the world three years in a row by Brand Finance.
Wells Fargo, unlike its competitors, has focused on traditional lending rather than investments, which has led to more rising profits since the financial crisis. Big investors have taken notice of the San Francisco-based bank — as of May 2015, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned 470 million shares of Wells Fargo.
It’s also somewhat influential online with a Klout score of 88, commanding 172,000 Twitter followers and over 800,000 Facebook likes.
2014 revenue: $45.99 billion
Number of employees: 129,200
Chances are, you’ve consumed at least one of the 657 billion Coca-Cola products purchased annually. The beverage company, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is impossible to ignore. Whether you’re at the grocery store or the movies or grabbing concessions during halftime, Coke — or Sprite, or Fanta — is on tap.
The brand is savvy on social media as well, commanding 375,000 Twitter followers, 782,000 Facebook likes, and a Klout score of 92.
2014 revenue: $38.23 billion
Number of employees: 132,000
Last year, Oracle impressively surpassed IBM to become the world’s second-largest software vendor by sales. As the premier cloud provider, Oracle serves 400,000 clients, including every Fortune 100 company.
Oracle is determined to simplify IT and lead industry innovation. The California-based company shows some influence on social media with a Klout score of 87.
2014 revenue: $111.5 billion
Number of employees: 302,000
Hewlett-Packard isn’t looking great after announcing that it will cut another 25,000 to 30,000 jobs, part of a huge multiyear layoff plan.
But being powerful isn’t always about being well-liked, and the Palo Alto-based company remains a dominant corporation, especially considering that press mentions — both positive and negative — factored into our rankings. The company also rakes in a huge amount of revenue: over $100 billion last year alone.
HP fares much better in terms of social media, however, with almost a million followers on Twitter and a Klout score of 92.
2014 revenue: $90.8 billion
Number of employees: 165,500
The Chicago-based jet maker is the world’s largest with 723 planes delivered in 2014. Roughly 48% of the world’s commercial fleet is Boeing and 90% of the world’s cargo is carried on Boeing freights.
What’s more, the company produces the family of aircraft used by the US defense and security teams. Boeing is also exploring drones and laser cannons and working on churning out more Dreamliner planes, the most fuel-efficient jetliner to date.
The airline manufacturer doesn’t pull much influence online, however, as it has a low Klout score of 70.
20. Berkshire Hathaway
2014 revenue: $194 billion
Number of employees: 316,000
Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company in Omaha, Nebraska, helmed by the distinguished Warren Buffett, not only rakes in billions in revenue, but owns several other prominent companies, including Geico, Heinz, and Helzberg Diamonds. Buffett himself is also the world’s third richest man, commanding a personal fortune over $70 billion.
Though Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t have an official Klout score, Buffett himself commands an 86 from the platform, despite only tweeting seven times so far.
2014 revenue: $68.78 billion
Number of employees: 139,000
The largest broadcasting and cable company in the world by revenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Comcast owns Comcast Cable (under Xfinity) and NBCUniversal. Under both brands, the company operates Universal Pictures, Universal Parks and Resorts, a host of popular television channels including E! and Bravo, and Hulu, one of the top movie and TV streaming apps.
Comcast was set to merge with Time Warner earlier this year, but the deal was cut short in April. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal has been investing heavily in new media brands Vox Media and BuzzFeed. Comcast has a Klout score of 90.
18. Ford Motor Company
2014 revenue: $135.8 billion
Number of employees: 187,000
Sales were down for Ford last year, but it’s not a sign of defeat. Fortune notes that the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker intentionally — and strategically — took a “rebuilding” year to refocus before pushing back full force.
It worked: The company saw profits jump a whopping 44% in the second quarter, far surpassing predictions.
Ford also engages with customers on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and has an impressive Klout score of 94.
2014 revenue: $55.25 billion
Number of employees: 106,700
Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s leading semiconductor chipmaker with a market cap of $140 billion. Apple has been using Intel chips for its computers since Steve Jobs announced the switch from IBM in 2005.
Last year, Intel lost billions of dollars going after its flailing mobile phone business, but now it’s probable that Apple will replenish Intel’s losses by allowing it to capture half of its modem business with this year’s iPhone release.
Intel’s undoubtedly doing well on social media, though, and commands a high Klout score of 96. It has 4.26 million Twitter followers and over 25 million fans on Facebook.
2014 revenue: $48.8 billion
Number of employees: 180,000
The Disney name is everywhere: toys, movies, television, apparel, and even theme parks. Its last major movie release, “Inside Out,” brought in $7.4 billion worldwide at the box office, and the much-anticipated “Star Wars” sequel debuts in December.
With 4.53 million Twitter followers and over 50 million Facebook likes, the Burbank, California-based company’s Klout score sits at a solid 83.
2014 revenue: $27.4 billion
Number of employees: 420,000
With consumer trends moving toward fast-casual and away from fast food, Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s is doing all it can to stay relevant. The company’s turnaround plan includes rolling out all-day breakfast and revamping some of its stores to launch the “create your own” gourmet burger option.
McDonald’s lists eight countries, including China and Russia, as high-growth markets — aka locations with high expansion and franchising potential, which is important since a large majority of McDonald’s restaurants (about 80% by the end of 2014) operate as franchises.
And with nearly 3 million followers on Twitter, the fast-food giant earns a Klout score of 93.
2014 revenue: $127.1 billion
Number of employees: 178,500
In a $4.4 billion deal announced in May, Verizon acquired AOL, also taking on its subsidiary brands The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. The largest telecommunications company in the US, Verizon, headquartered in New York City, continues to innovate and is currently building an even faster wireless network — supposedly fast enough to download a movie in 15 seconds.
Verizon’s 1.6 million Twitter followers and more than 7 million likes on Facebook gives it a definite presence online, bringing its Klout score to 86.
2014 revenue: $66.7 billion
Number of employees: 271,000
Despite a major slump in soda sales, America’s leading beverage producer found ways to remain profitable. PepsiCo, which operates out of Purchase, New York, owns 22 of the most well-known food and drink brands in the world, including Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Tropicana, which all earned more than $1 billion in sales in 2014.
With a Klout score of 89, PepsiCo came up just behind its competitor, Coca-Cola, in terms of social-media influence.
12. Johnson and Johnson
2014 revenue: $74.33 billion
Number of employees: 126,500
Though Johnson and Johnson, a healthcare company that manufactures medical devices and consumer products, saw a slump in sales earlier this year, it’s on its way back up.
Barron’s reports that the New Jersey-based company is “positioned for solid growth,” and Business Insider noted that despite the lower sales, it beat expectations on the top and bottom lines in the second quarter.
Despite having over 55,000 Twitter followers, the company’s Klout score is unavailable.
2014 revenue: $66 billion
Number of employees: 53,600
The search giant will soon become the largest subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., a holding company Google executives announced this summer. The Silicon Valley company is consistently ranked one of the best companies to work for in America, with a startup culture that’s envied by many.
Google also owns YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing website. Google’s Klout score is 98, unsurprisingly high for one of the world’s most innovative and engaging companies.
2014 revenue: $92.8 billion
Number of employees: 379,592
Though IBM struggled to remain relevant against falling profits last year, the technology and consulting company retains a strong base of loyal customers and powerful partners, including major corporations such as Apple and Citigroup.
IBM is also getting into the Internet of Things — a smart move, considering it’s expected to become a $1.7 trillion market within the next five years, which would only increase the Armonk, New York-based company’s already-high revenue.
IBM falls behind on social media, though, with no Klout score available.
9. General Motors
2014 revenue: $155.9 billion
Number of employees: 212,000
GM, one of the world’s largest automakers, has been in business for over a century. Despite a year filled with legal battles that recently ended with a multimillion-dollar settlement deal, GM has increased sales on the popular Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac brands.
The Detroit-based motor company has 21,000 dealers spanning six continents and a Klout score of 91, putting it just behind its competitor, Ford Motor Company, in terms of social-media influence.
2014 revenue: $58.2 billion
Number of employees: 237,300
The world’s largest package-delivery service, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, delivered 4.8 billion packages and documents in more than 220 countries and territories in 2014. After a rough holiday season in 2013, missing millions of promised delivery times, UPS bounced back by hiring more seasonal workers and opening new shipment centers.
With a Klout score of 80, UPS has a low social media influence, but still more than its direct competitor, FedEx, which clocks in at only 72 on Klout.
2014 revenue: $182.9 billion
Number of employees: 92,600
Easily one of most recognizable names in tech, Cupertino, California-based Apple continues to blow us away with new innovations. The big release of the year was the Apple Watch, but the company also announced more new features on the way, including additional Apple Watch styles as well as iPad and iPhone upgrades.
We used the Klout score for Apple Music in our ranking, a seemingly low 84 out of 100. But it’s important to note that Apple’s lack of a true score stems from the fact the the tech giant doesn’t have a central Twitter account.
But Apple Music commands 7.73 million Twitter followers and the App Store has 4.09 million — certainly nothing to sneeze at.
2014 revenue: $131.6 billion
Number of employees: 250,730
The Dallas, Texas-based mobile phone service provider is now also the largest pay-TV provider in the US thanks to a recent $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV. AT&T’s 4G LTE network covers more than 300 million people.
AT&T has a Klout score of 91 — thanks to 691,000 Twitter followers and 5.7 million Facebook likes — and is the only telecommunications company to rank on Fortune’s most admired companies list.
2014 revenue: $86.83 billion
Number of employees: 118,000
Microsoft is on the upswing. Revenues are up 11% from last year, with tablet sales continuing to grow. In fact, the Surface brought in over $1 billion in sales in the fourth quarter last year, making it “respectably profitable,” Business Insider reported.
It’s no surprise that the Redmond, Washington-based technology company is also social media savvy, earning it a near-perfect Klout score of 99, tied with Amazon for the highest score on our list.
2014 revenue: $88.99 billion
Number of employees: 154,100
As the largest e-commerce site in the country, Amazon recently surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in America in terms of market capitalization.
The Seattle-based company currently owns over 40 subsidiaries, including Zappos, IMDb, and GoodReads, and refuses to be left behind in the consumer-electronics market.
Amazon debuted an e-reader and tablet to compete with Apple and launched Amazon Instant Video, which has produced an award-winning original television series. Amazon is tied with Microsoft for the highest Klout score on our list at 99 out of 100.
3. General Electric
2014 revenue: $72.61 billion
Number of employees: 347,000
With more than 16 divisions and hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide, General Electric has its hand in almost every aspect of daily life.
From the electricity that powers our homes to the appliances that cook our food to the engines that power our airplanes, the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company is constantly innovating.
The corporation also has a Klout score of 91, proving its prowess online as well.
2014 revenue: $72.61 billion
Number of employees: 347,000
Target has a Klout score of 90 and has been turning to its millions of social media followers to gauge customer satisfaction.
In response to a social-media storm, Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Target pleased many loyal customers when it announced this summer that it would begin to phase out gender-specific signage from its stores.
The retailer hasn’t been quiet about its support for equal rights and gay marriage, either. To date, Target has also given $1 billion to education through fundraising and global initiatives.
2014 revenue: $485.62 billion
Number of employees: 2.2 million
With 11,500 stores in 28 countries, Walmart’s scope is undeniable. The family-owned, Arkansas-based retailer has a Klout score of 90 and is one of the world’s most valuable retail brands behind online giants Alibaba and Amazon.
Walmart is also the single-largest employer in America and announced earlier this year it’s raising wages for 500,000 of its 1.4 million US workers. The company sits at No. 1 on the Fortune 500.
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