NEW YORK (July 29, 2020) – Companies that are growing, trusted, have the best products and that responded decisively during this year’s COVID-19 crisis also have the best reputations. That’s among the findings of the Axios Harris Poll 100, an annual ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies, which was released today.
The Clorox Company, The Hershey Company, Amazon, Publix Supermarkets and General Mills have the top-five best reputations in America on the Axios Harris Poll 100 list.
Conversely, companies that struggle with citizenship, ethics and trust also struggle with reputation. This year, Juul Labs, The Trump Organization, Monsanto, Facebook, Wells Fargo & Company and Twitter were at the bottom of the annual list, with poor reputations.
“Now more than ever, companies that performed well on traditional reputation measures and responded to our global health crisis have the best reputations.” says John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. “Americans say large companies – with resources, infrastructure and advanced logistics – came to America’s rescue during the pandemic. In fact, today, big business is seen as more reliable than the federal government in keeping America running.”
The Axios Harris Poll 100 has ranked reputation since 1999. The survey’s Reputation Quotient (RQ) ranking is based on company performance is seven key areas:
- Trust – “Is this a company I trust?”
- Vision – “Does this company have a clear vision for the future?”
- Growth – “Is this a growing company?”
- Products and Services – “Does this company develop innovative products and services that I want and value?”
- Culture – “Is this a good company to work for?”
- Ethics – “Does this company maintain high ethical standards?”
- Citizenship – “Does this company share my values and support good causes?”
For an interactive list of all companies and their ranking on this year’s Axios Harris Poll 100, click here.
“What real people think about your company has never mattered more than it does today. Your brand perception can impact everything from recruitment and retention to sales and ultimately, the bottom line,” says Axios CEO and Co-founder Jim VandeHei. “As the multiple crises plaguing America rage on, the Axios Harris Poll 100 is a clear benchmark of who is winning and losing in the public eye.’
Among the insights from this year’s study:
- Biggest year-over-year improvements: McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Target, Delta Air Lines, General Motors, State Farm Insurance, Yum! Brands, Tesla Motors and Toyota
- Biggest year-over-year declines: The Boeing Company, Patagonia, Johnson & Johnson, The Home Depot, eBay, The Walt Disney Company, Nordstrom, Nike and Kraft Heinz
- Newcomers: Clorox, Zoom Video and Door Dash were among the newcomers to the 2020 list – largely due to their COVID-19 responses
- Sector gainers: Pharma and health care
- Sector declines: Retail, tech and media
- Multi-year gainer: Procter & Gamble, which has improved dramatically – moving from #54 on the list in 2017 to #20 in 2018 and #8 in 2019 and 2020
- Multi-year decliners: Facebook (falling a record 43 spots – from #51 in 2018 to #94 in 2019 and #97 in 2020), Boeing (#16 in 2018, #19 in 2019 and #84 in 2020) and Nike (#12 in 2018, #35 in 2019 and #36 in 2020)
- Surprise decliner: Typically a reputation star, Disney declined from #5 or #7 for the past four years to #23 in 2020, and its RQ score has declined 3.0 points
- Most trusted: Publix, Clorox and Hershey – with Target improving the most year over year
- Best vision for the future: Amazon, Clorox and Chick-fil-A. – with PepsiCo improving the most
- Best growth prospects: Amazon, Chick-fil-A and Clorox – with PepsiCo improving the most
- Best products and services: Clorox, Tesla and Amazon – with PepsiCo improving the most
- Best culture: Publix, PepsiCo and General Mills – with Toyota improving the most
- Best ethics: Clorox, Publix and Wegmans – with Netflix improving the most
- Best citizenship: Clorox, Publix and Hershey – with McDonald’s improving the most
- Best on COVID: Top performers on a new measure of “has taken meaningful actions to address the challenges of COVID-19”: Clorox, Kroger and Publix
- Best on racial equality: Top performers on a new measure of “has taken meaningful actions in support of racial equality”: Publix, Kroger and Clorox
- Professional sports: The major American sports leagues were surveyed on the list for the first time, with MLB, the NFL and NBA all receiving a “fair” reputation ranking
“Reputation is the most valuable asset a company has,” says Ray Day, vice chair of The Stagwell Group, which includes The Harris Poll. “Companies with better reputations have a price advantage, a competitive advantage and greater stability. Highly regarded companies also are more likely to attract and retain talent, garner better partners and recover faster from reputational harm.”
Simply defined, reputation is a measure of what all stakeholders think about a company. Reputation differs from brand, which measures a company’s products and services among specific customers.
“You create a brand and earn a reputation,” Day says. “Today more than ever, leading companies take building reputation very seriously. That’s because research shows reputation makes up a third or more of a company’s market capitalization and value.”
The Axios Harris Poll 100 is based on a survey of 34,026 Americans in a nationally representative sample. The two-step process starts fresh each year by surveying the public’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either excel or falter in society. These 100 “most visible companies” are then ranked by a second group of Americans across the seven key dimensions of reputation to arrive at the ranking. If a company is not on the list, it did not reach a critical level of visibility to be measured. In 2020, the survey was conducted twice – before and after the onset of the COVID pandemic. The 2020 rankings are based on the latest fielding in late June and early July 2020.
John Gerzema, CEO, The Harris Poll [email protected]
Ray Day, Vice Chair, Stagwell [email protected]
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building 21st century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. Learn more by visiting www.harrispoll.com and follow Harris Poll on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Axios is a digital media company launched in 2017. Axios – which means “worthy” in Greek – helps you become smarter, faster with news and information across politics, tech, business, media, science, and the world. Subscribe to our newsletters at axios.com/newsletters and download our mobile app at axios.com/app.