Small Grocery Chain Has Best Reputation of Any US Company

March 7, 2019 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Amazon.com is not the most admired company in America. Neither is Walt Disney or Apple, which often top the most admired lists. The honor in a major annual poll done by Harris goes to the modest-sized grocery chain Wegmans. It was founded in 1916 and has only 98 locations.

The Harris study, which has been renamed the Axios Harris Poll 100 this year, is two decades old. For the 2019 results, it questioned 18,228 people in the United States. The research covers what Harris describes as the “public’s top of mind awareness of companies who either excelled or faltered in society.” The companies covered by the study have to be visible enough for a set number of Americans to have an opinion based on the Harris methodology.

Wegmans bested some of the most well-known companies in the country. It had a score of 83.0 based on the Harris yardstick and moved up from the second position in the 2018 study. It replaces Amazon, which was in first place last year. Amazon had a score of 82.3 in the 2019 survey. While Amazon has quickly become one of America’s largest retailers, Wegmans is the 54th largest retailer in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Wegmans is not a stranger to lists of companies with good reputations. It was in second place in the Fortune “Best Companies to Work For” list for 2018. It has been on the list since 1998.

Another reasonably small company was third on the Harris list. Patagonia, which makes outdoor clothes, had a score of 81.4. Another small retailer, L.L. Bean was in fourth place with a score of 80.7. It has only 55 locations. In fifth place, Disney had a score of 80.4. It was followed by regional grocery store Publix, which has 1,250 locations and a score of 80.3. In seventh place, Samsung has a rating of 80.0, followed by Procter & Gamble with a grade of 79.8. Microsoft was in ninth place with a rating of 79.7. Rounding out the top 10, Sony had a score of 79.4.

Several major companies saw their ratings take a nose dive. Nike dropped 23 places to 35th with a score of 76.0. Tesla plunged 39 spots to 42nd with a score of 75.4 Target fell 23 positions to 72nd place with a rating of 69.9. McDonald’s dropped 29 positions to 88th with a score of 63.7. Facebook dropped 43 positions to 94th with a score of 58.1.

Several other companies saw a positive change in their reputation scores. Samsung rose 28 places and Sony climbed 21 spots. 21st Century Fox rose 21 spots to 53rd place with a score of 73.4.

At the very bottom of the list, the U.S. government was in 100th place with a score of 48.6. Just above it, cigarette company Philip Morris had a rating of 49.4 and the Trump Organization had a score of 50.1. Sears was in 97th place with a score of 52.3.

Tech companies, in general, did not do well, with the massive drop in Facebook’s rank and drops in Google and Apple. “For two years in a row, the public has ranked data privacy as America’s most pressing social issue, and consequently, it’s no surprise that tech giants perceived as egregiously mishandling users’ personal information had severe reputational losses,” said John Gerzema, CEO, The Harris Poll.

Wegmans is among the smallest companies on the Harris list, and the U.S. government is last, proof that in terms of reputation, size does not matter.

Rank Brand Score Change
1 Wegmans 83.0 +1
2 Amazon 82.3 −1
3 Patagonia 81.4 +6
4 L.L. Bean 80.7 +11
5 Walt Disney 80.4 n/a
6 Publix 80.3 +2
7 Samsung 80.0 +28
8 Procter & Gamble 79.8 +12
9 Microsoft 79.7 +2
10 Sony 79.4 +21
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