Pass me the Clorox…tip the UPS driver…love thy grocer.
These are our daily life-flows in the Age of COVID-19. Our basic needs are reflected in the new 2020 Axios-Harris Poll, released today.
For the past several years, I’ve covered the Harris Poll of companies’ reputation rankings here in Health Populi. Last year, Wegmans, the grocer, ranked #1; Amazon, #2.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. consumers’ basic needs are emerging as health and hygiene, food, and technology, based on the new Axios-Harris Poll on the top 100 companies.
This year’s study was conducted in four waves, with the release postponed until this week to assess the now-consumer int he pandemic. Surveys were fielded in November and December 2019, and in mid-June 2020 to update for the Age of Corona.
The first chart illustrates consumers’ views on the broad industry sectors that touch their every day lives. Note the greatest gains in net approval are with the health care system — doctors, nurses, and hospitals, with a change in net approval of 47 percentage points.
The second largest gains were seen in grocery stores, increasing by 35 percentage points. Related to grocers are food and beverage companies, gaining 23 points over last year.
Then technology companies also gained a net of 19 points.
Pharma/drugs and retail net approval ratings increased by 17 points each.
Who lost in approval ratings over the year? Media and airlines, probably for different reasons: there’s been a loss of trust in media, noted in the past few years by the Edelman Trust Barometer. For airlines, consumers see that industry as high-risk for health and exposure to the coronavirus, with most Americans postponing travel for many months to come, a recent poll from Manifest found.
Now, to the individual company reputation rankings which say everything about where we live in this now-normal.
We ranked The Clorox Company first among the 100 companies studied. Second in the Axios-Harris Poll was The Hershey Company — representing our love of chocolate, of course, but on a more basic level our need for a trusted, comfort brand.
Amazon ranked #3 this year, down 1 from last year.
Publix, the grocer, ranked fourth, followed by General Mills (our food as basic need), Wegmans (the grocery store ranking #1 last year), Costco — up 11 positions! — P&G, for our personal care needs, Kroger, another grocer, and UPS.
The eCommerce basic need had strong showing in the top 10, with Amazon as #3 and UPS as #10.
As a postscript and sign of our times, looking at the Bottom 10 is also useful. Juul Labs, the vaping company (35% of which is owned by Philip Morris), ranked last in the study on reputations, with the Trump Organization as #99 — down one from last year’s #98 position. Twitter fell by six positions to #95, Facebook by 3 positions, and the beleaguered retailer JC Penney dropped 9 posts to #92. Wells Fargo, the bank, kept its position in the bottom ten consistent with the 2019 poll.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: The coronavirus pandemic has re-shaped us as consumers, flattening down our very personal Maslow Hierarchies of Needs as illustrated in this diagram that bakes in WiFi connectivity as a basic need of everyday living. Being connected, for work, education, and social connections is now necessary for our very survival on every level — physical, mental, financial, emotional.
Living clean, eating clean, avoiding the virus — house cleaning with Clorox and Lysol, washing out hands, keeping good oral care to fend off avoidable trips to the dentist — these are our physiological needs. Our homes are our safe houses for health.
Saving money when we can, arming up with masks and face coverings…keeping safe…these, too, rank high on our lists for self-care and self-preservation.
Oh, and then there’s chocolate.
Here’s my write-up of the 2019 Axios-Harris Poll on corporate reputations to compare “who” we were just one year ago…