Americans love grocery stores, responsible retailers, technology and Amazon, Axios and Harris Poll found in this year’s top 100 visible company poll.

The bottom five of the 100 include a big bank that ripped off consumers, a bankrupt retailer, a Big Tobacco company, and two organizations led by President Trump: The Trump Organization (#98) and the U.S. Government (#100).

The summary points to five key findings in the report:

  1. The U.S. Government is the worst “company” in America according to “The Citizens of America,” in the words of Axios and Harris Poll.
  2. Americans have acquired “prime” tastes and expectations through Amazon customer experiences.
  3. FAANGs have fallen in the wake of “scandal, deception and corruption,” especially related to Facebook/Cambridge Analytica (which I discussed here in Health Populi).
  4. When a CEO becomes a celebrity, it can become a company liability as has been the case with Tesla and Elon Musk, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Papa John’s leadership.
  5. The death of the “processed marketplace” has led to a major trend in Health, Well and Fresh.

I’ll focus on this last trend as it’s central to Health Populi’s ethos and wheelhouse.

Nielsen has observed that fresh and perishable foods drive half of the growth in grocery (brick-and-mortar stores). Consumers’ interest in and purchase of processed foods are taking a back seat to fresh, green and clean. “Being well,” the report says, is the new luxury status symbol.

Supermarkets win in this trend, with Wegmans in the #1 spot overall in the top 100, followed by Publix, Costco, Kroger and Aldi falling into the top 21 rankings.

Axios and Harris Poll believe this is an opportunity for companies to focus on nutrition, betterment and optimism. Thus, organizations like Patagonia, L.L. Bean, P&G, Unilever, Adidas, Nestle, J&J, Nike, Best Buy (which recently acquired GreatCall, described here), Kohl’s (covered here on their alliance with WW, Weight Watchers), and Under Armour all speak to some aspect of health and wellness. So do Samsung and Microsoft, ranking 7 and 9, for technology and health, Walgreens ay 40, and CVS at 48.

Note some of the downturns marked by the arrows: from the bottom up, you’ll find Facebook, Comcast, McDonald’s, Tesla, Google, and Chick-fil-A. Each of these companies has had their challenging PR moments in 2018 regarding leadership, privacy gaffes, service levels, and social issues.

To assess company reputations overall, Axios and Harris Poll surveyed 6,118 adults 18 and over in November 2019. For the company ratings across key attributes, Axios and Harris polled 18,228 U.S. adults in January 2019 to arrive at about 300 ratings per company in the study.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The second chart arrays Americans’ priorities on social issues, leading with data privacy and access to health care: two topics that also rank highly in Health Populi’s ecosystem and coverage.

Good health and well-being, education, hunger, equality, gun violence, environment, drug addiction….health is baked into the minds of Americans’ when it comes to social issues.

Job creation, as well, is key for financial wellness. Edelman’s Trust Barometer this year identified employers as the most-trusted node in Americans’ lives, a realization among people that we need our jobs, and we turn to our workplaces for social and emotional support, and in the U.S., health security for insurance coverage and wellness services.

And now a word about the U.S. Government: in 2018-19, as this survey went into the field interviewing thousands of American consumers, the Federal government put many employees on furlough without pay. So much for trusting an employer for work security and all that entails. This period alienated more than the people directly impacted as Federal workers are all part of their families and communities. They’re local economic players patronizing local businesses, so the economic impact of the situation was felt well beyond those working for the U.S. Government.

Then there’s the lack of effectiveness which U.S. citizens — taxpayers, all — have witnessed in the past few years. So much for the ROI on personal tax payments.

Check out the Axios Harris Poll “key attributes” in this survey: they’re growth, culture, citizenship, product & services, ethics, trust, business trajectory, organizational character, and vision. The U.S. Government falls into the bottom 5 companies for each and every one of these attributes.

While most Americans favor that the government ensure (not “insure,” but “ensure”) health care access for all Americans, very few believe the government should run that system. That’s from the Gallup Poll fielded in late 2018. That certainly jibes with how Americans feel about the U.S. Government ranking low on character, vision, trust, ethics and, sadly citizenship.

2 Comments on Loving Wegmans and Amazon, Hating on the US Government: the Axios Harris Poll 100 in 2019

InEmpathy.org | for a better world said : Guest Report a week ago

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Lygeia Ricciardi said : Guest Report 2 weeks ago

Great post, Jane! I wonder how much the negative assessment of government is tied to a particular administration and how much is general dislike & distrust of politics and government. Federal services have a bad image in part thanks to poor “customer experiences” at the DMV or with the IRS, which not only takes your money, but does so through a painful process. Also, people don’t appreciate the value of health, education, infrastructure, safety etc provided by government because they may not realize the extent that it depends on government. I think a general dislike of government contributed to Trump’s election—though on the other hand some of the negative ratings on government were probably associated with Trump’s presidency specifically. It would be interesting to see how assessments of government compare under different administrations.

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