Patagonia sits atop the 2021 Axios Harris Poll 100 list of corporations that rank them by reputation, a 31 spot improvement from last year. Also scoring well on the list were Costco, Amazon, REI, Adidas, and Nike.
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?”

The Axios Harris Poll 100 is based on a survey of 42,935 Americans in a nationally representative sample conducted April 8-21, 2021. The two-step process starts each year by surveying the consumer’s top-of-mind awareness of companies that either has excelled or faltered. These 100 “most visible companies” are then ranked by a second group of consumers across the seven key areas of reputation to arrive at its ranking. If a company is not on the list, it did not reach the level of visibility to be measured.

Patagonia led the rankings with a score of 82.7, up from a ranking of 32 in 2020. The outdoor brand scored high in all seven key areas with the highest scores achieved in Products and Services, Ethics and Growth.

In the active lifestyle space, REI ranked 11, the same as last year. REI’s overall score was 79.9 across the seven key areas with its best scores around Product and Services, Vision, Culture and Ethics.

Adidas, with a rating of 75.1, ranked 49, the same as last year. Adidas’ top scores came in Products and Services, Growth and Vision.

Nike, with a score of 72.8, was ranked 62, down from 68 in 2020. The brand scored best in Products and Services and Growth and was lower in Citizenship.

Among more mainstream retailers, Costco landed at 9 against 11 in 2020; Amazon, 10 against 3; Kohl’s, 55 versus 71; Nordstrom, 63, up from 65.; Macy’s, 64 versus 70; Walmart, 83 against 81; and JCPenney, 89, up from 86.

Among the broader insights from this year’s study:

  • Most visible: Amazon and Walmart are the two most visible companies in the U.S. followed by Apple, Facebook, Google, Target, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Nike, and McDonald’s.
  • New to the list: Moderna, SpaceX, Chewy, REI, Subaru, In-n-Out Burger, Wayfair, Kaiser Permanente, Goya, Reddit, Robinhood, GameStop, Huawei, My Pillow, TikTok, and Wish.
  • Top 10 most visible and reputable companies: Patagonia, Honda, Moderna, Chick-fil-A, SpaceX, Chewy, Pfizer, Tesla, Costco, and Amazon. All are separated by only small degrees, they do well in nearly every reputation category, and it is continuous Reputation improvement that keeps most of them at the top with Amazon the exception. Amazon is the only company in the Top 10 with a Reputation decline from last year.
  • Industry movement: Consumer packaged goods and financial services are the 2021 major gainers among all companies in all business sectors. Tech is in Reputation decline again this year with Google (down 5.03 percent) one of the biggest year-over-year declines, with TikTok, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Apple is the only major tech company that advanced in Reputation with a 2.82 percent year-over-year gain.
  • Vaccine performers: The pharmaceutical industry remains strong following COVID with two major standouts. Moderna is new on the list with an excellent Reputation, and Pfizer posted its largest year-over-year Reputation gain of any company at 9.86 percent. Johnson & Johnson’s Reputation is much lower than Moderna and Pfizer, with flat year-over-year performance.
  • Big Oil: The major oil companies improved or stabilized with BP up 4.04 percent and ExxonMobil steady.
  • Airlines: Performance is mixed, with Delta down 3.98 percent, but United Airlines up 1.05 percent. Relatedly, Boeing was the biggest decliner last year but rebounded with an improvement of 4.05 percent.
  • Streaming wars: The streaming services declined with Hulu down 1.08 percent and Netflix down 2.54 percent.
  • Musk’s touch: Elon’s companies are doing well with SpaceX and Tesla in the Top 10 companies on Reputation and Tesla up 2.66 percent year-over-year.
  • Biggest year-over-year improvements: Pfizer (9.86 percent), Dollar General (8.79 percent), Patagonia (8.69 percent), Hobby Lobby (6.20 percent), JCPenney (4.48 percent), Unilever (4.39 percent), Trump Organization (4.37 percent), eBay (4.36 percent), BP (4.04 percent), and Bank of America (4.0 percent).
  • Biggest year-over-year declines: Fox (-6.14 percent), TikTok (-5.21 percent), Google (-5.03 percent), Adidas (-4.63 percent), Delta Air Lines (-3.98 percent), Sears (-3.95 percent), Yum! Brands (-3.90 percent), Publix Supermarkets (-3.72 percent), Uber (-3.68 percent), and Procter & Gamble (-3.59 percent).

Photo courtesy Patagonia