Amazon, Publix head ranking of retailers with best corporate reputations

Marianne Wilson
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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. The Clorox Company, The Hershey Company, Amazon, Publix Supermarkets and General Mills have the top-five best reputations in America on the list. Wegmans was No. 6, followed by Costco, Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Co. and UPS. For an interactive list of all companies and their ranking on the poll, click here

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.

Simply defined, reputation is a measure of what all stakeholders think about a company, according to the report. Reputation differs from brand, which measures a company's products and services among specific customers.

"Now more than ever, companies that performed well on traditional reputation measures and responded to our global health crisis have the best reputations," said 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."

Among the insights from this year's study:
•    Newcomers: Clorox, Zoom Video and Door Dash were among the newcomers to the 2020 list – largely due to their COVID-19 responses;
•    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; and
• 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 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 

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?"

"What real people think about your company has never mattered more than it does today,” said Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei. “Your brand perception can impact everything from recruitment and retention to sales and ultimately, the bottom line. 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."

To download full report, click here.