Does it matter how the public views a company? Does the reaction to its name drive sales of its products or services higher or lower? Brand experts have considered this question for decades. The results are not conclusive. Well-known brands like Facebook are often poorly regarded by the public, yet it has over 2 billion people on its social network. Its stock market value is close to $1 trillion. Chick-fil-A often shows up as one of the best-regarded brands, yet it is among the smaller fast-food chains. In addition, it has been embroiled in controversies over its anti-LGBTQ stances.
The Harris Poll is one of the oldest, most widely regarded polling companies in America. It has done a company reputation survey every year for decades. Recently, it began to do the same poll in tandem with media company Axios. The findings for the 2021 Axios Harris Poll 100 have been released. According to the methodology, 42,935 Americans were surveyed. It involves a two-step process. The first is to find companies that it calls “top of mind,” an equivalent of what most people would call best known. It then asks another, smaller set of people about their impression of those companies that made the first list. The impression is measured across seven metrics: citizenship, ethics, culture, trust, vision, growth, and products and services.
Sears, once America’s largest retailer and now almost completely out of business, was ranked as the least respected. With its score of 6.12 out of 100, only Wish.com, Facebook, Fox and the Trump Organization came in below it. After an unsuccessful merger with Kmart, Sears started to close stores serially, though the number of closures has dropped from the thousands to the low hundreds.
Incidentally, at the bottom of the list of 100 companies, with a score of 56.9, is the Trump Organization. This is the business arm of many of the former president’s commercial operations. Almost the entire portfolio of assets held by The Trump Organization is real estate, ranging from golf courses and hotels to residential and commercial buildings. Again, an odd conclusion. While Trump may be abhorred by much of the nation, 74 million people voted for him and he still holds sway over the Republican Party.