By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

INFLATION DENTS CORPORATE REPUTATION

Corporate handling of inflation and culture wars are denting the reputations for more than 70% of American companies, and the public has a higher bar for corporate excellence than ever. Those are among the insights of the Axios-Harris Poll 100, the 26th annual ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies, which was released by Stagwell and The Harris Poll this week.

  • Nvidia, 3M, Fidelity, Sony and Adidas have the top-five best reputations in America.
  • Social media platforms and companies viewed as politically polarizing are the ones with the poorest reputations or that suffered the steepest declines. This year, The Trump Organization, X (formerly Twitter), Spirit Airlines, Meta/Facebook and Fox Corporation are at the bottom, with poor reputations.
  • 63 of the 89 companies (or 71%) see a decline of half a point or more.
  • Only 15 companies (17%) see an improvement of half a point or more.
  • Top reasons for declining reputations include: companies not doing enough to keep prices fair from inflation (26%); poor ethical behavior related to unfair pricing and passing along costs or suppressing wages/lack of hiring despite profit-making (20%); and too much focus on cultural issues not important to consumers (18%).
  • 72% believe companies are taking advantage of inflation to increase their profit margins rather than being fair and transparent with the prices they charge.
  • To improve reputation, Americans believe companies should: be more focused on keeping prices fair during inflation (53%); improve product quality, safety and consumer satisfaction (48%); and pay good wages while promoting economic growth through job creation (48%) – rather than ESG (23%), AI (13%) or taking proactive stances on societal or culture issues.
  • Biggest individual company gainers: BP, Hobby Lobby, Fidelity, Subway and eBay.
  • Biggest decliners: Boeing, Shein, Reddit, Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch.
  • New to the list: Nvidia, Mattel, Novo Nordisk, Bayer and Alaska Airlines.
  • LEARN MORE: If you and your company/team would like a briefing on this year’s corporate reputation results – including data on many companies that did not make the 100 most visible list – please contact Alexis Williams.

 

MOOD OF COUNTRY REMAINS FLAT

Americans’ views of how things are going remains little changed from last month, according to our most recent poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

  • 33% of Americans say the country is on the right track (compared with 34% a month ago), and 34% say the economy is on the right track (compared with 35% last month).
  • 48% say their personal financial situation is becoming worse (compared with 48% a month ago), while 28% say it is improving (compared with 29% a month ago).
  • Inflation is far and away the most important issue to voters personally, 25 points higher than immigration, the second choice.
  • 52% of Hispanic Americans and 42% of Asian Americans say their personal financial situation is getting worse.
  • 79% believe student protesters should be removed from college campuses through detainment or arrest if they become violent or damage university property (64% for ages 18-24 and 92% for ages 65+).

 

AFRAID TO TAKE PTO

Employees are struggling with burnout, yet they also feel guilty about taking time off, according to The Harris Poll’s new “Out of Office Culture Report.”

  • 83% say they are happy with their employer’s time-off policy, and 60% receive more than 10 days off a year.
  • 78% don’t use all of their days off: The average American took 15 days off last year, although half have more than 15 days off available.
  • Half of employees said they become nervous asking to take time off. This increases to 61% for Millennials.
  • 76% said they wished their employer placed more emphasis on the value of taking time off.
  • While 62% of people say being out of office means not working, 60% say they struggle to fully disconnect, and 56% have taken work calls or meetings during their time off.
  • Nearly 90% of employees said they read emails from their boss during their time away.
  • Employees are coming up with their own work-arounds: 31% have moved their mouse to keep their status active on their company messaging system.
  • 30% have scheduled messages to send outside of working hours to create the impression they are working longer.
  • 28% have taken time off without telling their manager.

 

ICYMI

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

ADVERTISING AND NEWS GOOD FOR BUSINESS AND DEMOCRACY

Americans are smart enough to know the difference between a news story and an ad, and many fears about the “brand safety” of advertising are unwarranted, according to new Stagwell research on the “Future of News.”

  • In a study of 50,000 U.S. adults, Stagwell examined the concept of brand safety – the measures taken to ensure a brand’s advertisements do not appear alongside editorial content that could potentially harm that brand’s reputation.
  • The data reveal that ads placed adjacent to news topics like politics, inflation and crime perform as effectively as those placed next to business, entertainment and sports stories.
  • 25% of Americans today consider themselves “news junkies,” 23% “sports junkies” and 17% “entertainment junkies.”
  • Among Gen Z, average purchase intent for brands with ads placed next to high-quality news articles on the Middle East conflict was 65%, compared with 66% for inflation and 67% for crime – differences that are statistically insignificant.
  • Purchase intent was 69% for sports – widely considered a “safe” news topic – illustrating a minimal 4 percentage point difference between the “riskiest” and “safest” topics.
  • Among affluent Americans, average favorability for brands with ads placed next to high-quality, yet political news articles on former President Trump and President Biden were each 72% – just 2 percentage points less than brands with ads were placed next to a non-political entertainment story.
  • Recognizing that news is the foundation of a thriving democracy and a critical communications and marketing vehicle, Stagwell also is launching a series of Future of News studies and events to fuel discussions on the importance of advertising for a thriving news industry.
  • To get a copy of the research, visit the Stagwell Future of News webpage. 

 

SOUTHERNERS DON’T SPLURGE ON STREAMING

If you live in the south or are Gen X or a Boomer, you likely spend the least on streaming each month, based on our Harris Poll study with Tubi.

  • Residents in the country’s 16 states across the South are saving $111 annually compared with people in the Northeast, who spend the most at nearly $685 per year, or $57 a month.
  • 53% of Gen Z and Millennials believe they are overspending on streaming services each month.
  • Gen Z and Millennials spend $57 a month on average on streaming.
  • That is higher than the $45 Gen X and Boomers spend on streaming.
  • 27% of Gen Z and Millennials say they use more streaming services now than they plan to use in the future.
  • 58% of consumers would rather have a free streaming account that is theirs than have a paid subscription they have to share with others.

 

BUY NOW PAY LATER CREATING PHANTOM DEBT ISSUE

“Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) is increasingly popular, yet it’s also racking up “phantom debt” that is difficult to track, according to new Harris Poll research with Bloomberg.

  • Americans saving for college think it will cost more than $77,000 – a debt they don’t expect to pay off until age 45.
  • 54% of BNPL users say it allows them to purchase more than they can afford.
  • 24% say their BNPL spending is “out of control.”
  • 43% of BNPL users who owe money said they were behind on payments, and 28% said they were delinquent on other debt because of spending on the platforms.
  • 48% say they have started or have considered using BNPL to pay bills or buy essential items, including gas and groceries

 

CHILD CARE REMAINS KEY STRESSOR FOR PARENTS

Parental burnout is rising due to worries about access to child care, according to our latest Harris Poll Parent Confidence Index with KinderCare.

  • 71% of parents say they constantly are thinking about childcare issues, a 7 point increase from 2023.
  • 50% say providing childcare coverage causes substantial stress.
  • 61% want their employer to implement flexible start and end times – to make child care easier.
  • 64% think their employer should offset the cost of childcare.
  • 88% believe access to consistent, high-quality childcare would improve their mental health.
  • See also: Mothers cannot work without child care, so why aren’t more companies helping?

 

2024 CORPORATE REPUTATION RANKINGS

Stagwell’s Harris Poll and Axios will release the 2024 annual corporate reputation rankings next week.

  • We are hosting an in-person working lunch for business leaders at Stagwell’s offices in New York City beginning at noon ET Wednesday, May 22.
  • Joined by leaders from Stagwell and The Harris Poll, we will discuss what the latest reputation results mean for business, communications and marketing.
  • Those who attend will receive detailed reputation insights, including specific data across industries and companies.
  • If you would like an invitation to attend, please e-mail Alexis.Williams@stagwellglobal.com.

 

ICYMI

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:

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Articles

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