The Harris Poll® today released The Harris Poll Essential 100, a ranking of corporate response to the pandemic. According to Americans, these one hundred companies played an essential role during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Essential 100 underscores a preference for large logistics-driven, resourced, and innovative companies because they represent safety, reliability, and proven performance. As fear engulfs the nation (71% of Americans believe the fear of COVID19 is sensible and 82% are not leaving their homes because of the pandemic as of June 8th), Corporate America is seen as part of the solution, rather than the problem, as was the case during the global financial crisis. 

In fact, there is a renewal of trust in large institutions and corporations amid the crisis. Our data show that (87%) of Americans trust healthcare workers, (80%) scientists, (79%) local and county agencies and health departments and (75%) trust the CDC. Also held in high esteem are Governors, Mayors and Corporations across America. There is a resurgence in positive industry impressions… from grocery, small business, restaurants, even pharma, and technology.

COVID-19 has disrupted the marketplace, creating new challenges for how businesses operate and new expectations to provide solutions in this crisis. And corporate America is stepping up, ushering in a reappraisal of reputation to safeguard society where the public is placing trust in companies to protect society, in fact 87% say it’s more important today for corporate America to protect the health and safety of employees. As a result, industry reputation is rising across the board signaling a restoration of corporate image.

The Essential 100 Findings:

The top 10 most essential companies during the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Harris Poll Essential 100 are (in order): United States Postal Service, Clorox, Google, United Parcel Service, Walmart, Amazon, Purell, Microsoft, FedEx, and CVS

“The Essential 100 is an in-the-moment assessment of who’s rising to meet the challenges of a nation torn apart by the pandemic, economic uncertainty and now social division,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. “In the global financial crisis corporations were seen as part of the problem; this time they are a wanted part of the solution.”

The Harris Poll asked a representative sample of 2,032 Americans at this moment, which companies are the most ‘essential’ to America? Conducted among the leading American corporations (and corporations operating extensively in America) across industries. The ranking is comprised of four equally-weighted components (based on public expectations of company performance in our surveys):

  • Resolve: Do you think the company should be providing solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Trustworthiness: Do you trust the company to respond appropriately and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Responsiveness: Do you think the company has had a good response or a poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Permanence: How much would you miss the company if it closed for good? Survey was conducted on May 20th to 22nd, 2020

There were several core themes across the rankings where Americans seemed to group their aspirations and needs for companies including. 

  • Logistics Support, Presence Means Assurance: During the pandemic companies that were visible to shelter-at-home Americans heavily represented among the top ten as they provided a sense of order and continuity as the country paused its activity amid uncertainty. And from delivery services to financial institutions and pharmacies, logistics were a welcome semblance of normalcy.  
    • #1 USPS (#1 Permanence)  #4 UPS (#2 Integrity) #5 Walmart  (#4 Integrity) #6 Amazon (#5 Responsiveness)  #9 FedEx (#9 Integrity) #10 CVS (#2 Resolve) #18 Visa (#9 Permanence)
  • Ability to Pivot, Offer Betterment and Build New Routines: As sheltering in place moved into its fifteenth week, many Americans began new habits and routines like working from home, creating family meals, and helping children with online education. Companies also raced in a Rosie The Riveter fashion to adapt their supply chains and re-tool operations to fight the pandemic. Many of these companies are featured here on the list for their help in making America pivot 
    • #3 Google (#2 Permanence #4 Responsiveness) #8 Microsoft (#6 Permanence) #13 YouTube (#8 Permanence) #17 Apple (#10 Resolve) #25 Ford (#7 Responsiveness) #41 GM (#16 Responsiveness) #74 Zoom (#11 Responsiveness)
  • Inclusivity, Community & Togetherness: Families also came together into close quarters, creating the rise of demand in streaming services, board games and extra-sized SKU’s. Companies that brought us together also thrived as ‘essential’ to Americans:
    • #11 Samsung (#7 Integrity) #16 Netflix (#13 Integrity) #35 Domino’s (#14 Responsiveness) #80 NBA (#19 Responsiveness)
  • Safety, Efficacy and Health: With national fear causing eight out of ten Americans to stay inside their homes, the E-100 comprises many firms providing health and wellness from everyday protection to the hope for faster testing, tracing and a race to a vaccine. Across the board health and wellness providers scored healthy in the public’s consciousness. 
    • #2 Clorox (#1 Resolve ; #1 Integrity) #7 Purell (#3 Integrity ; #3 Responsiveness) #76 Cardinal Health (#7 Resolve) #10 CVS (#2 Resolve) #12 J&J (#3 Resolve and #9 Responsiveness) #26 UHG (#16 Integrity) #28 3M (#13 Resolve) #40 Bayer (#16 Resolve) #43 Anthem Health (#11 Resolve, #18 Integrity) #71 Humana (#14 Resolve)
  • Independence and Self-Sufficiency: Our Harris Poll data also shows strong interest in home remodeling, upgrading infrastructure in the home and 38% of Urbanites considering a move to the suburbs or the country. Amid this activity, a national desire for space and self-sufficiency –– first noted in bulk buying of goods –– propelled many American companies who offer independence a welcome place in American’s hearts and minds. 
    • #21 Lowe’s (#15 Integrity) #23 Home Depot (#21 Permanence) #45 Dollar General (#32 Permanence), Also Ford, GM, CVS, Walgreens, Purell, YouTube, Apple, Zoom, Microsoft applicable here.

To download the full report click here.


John Gerzema, CEO, The Harris Poll [email protected]

Ray Day Vice Chair, Stagwell [email protected]

Annie Prunsky

Annie Prunsky

Director of Marketing

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